ETOILES ET TEMPETES
France / 1955 / 90'
Even Walt Disney was impressed by this film of the great French Alpine guide Gaston Rebuffat who ended up by giving the original to the American House. Nevertheless a copy was kept by the CAI Cinema library, the only one that owns this important film on mountaineering. If Cimes et merveilles by Samivel stirred up a love for the mountains, this film by Rebuffat stirred up a love for mountaineering risks. During those years the great walls were the testing scene for the best climbers who repeated the most difficult climbs on the Matterhorn, Jorasses, Eiger, Lavaredo, and Badile. The Cassins, the Schmids, the Comicis and the Heckmairs were symbols, legends. Going over their itineraries, in some cases for the first time around 1950 (after a ten yeras interval caused by the war) as mostly the Italian and French did, meant entering the legend for oneself. But the right spirit was required, curiosity and determination. How could one be so daring? In competitive surroundings Rebuffat's film revealed and exalted the competitive spirit and encouraged one to be daring. Mountaineering on vertical glaciers and sheer rocks were presented to us then as huge exciting and didactic scene.
Gaston Rébuffat was one of the greatest post-war French mountaineers and the greatest mountain guide of his time. He was famed for his climbs, of which he made more than one thousand on the Alps alone, including first ascents, first repeats and first winter ascents. He is also much admired for his work as a writer, conference-speaker, filmmaker and photographer. His most famous films include Etoiles et Tempêtes, which won the Grand Prize at the TrentoFilmfestival in 1955, and Tra terra e cielo, which won the same prize in 1961.