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Brave-How the mountains changed my life

average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Nov 26, 2023

Film Reviews
Brave-How the mountains changed my life
Directed by:
Martin Sandin
Written by:
Martin Sandin & Viktor Annerstål
Maria Granberg, Johnny Granberg, Noelle Grahn Sandin

A short documentary about a Swedish mountaineering enthusiast.


The adventurous person mentioned above is Maria Granberg, whose many achievements include becoming the second Swedish woman to climb the north face of Mt. Everest. In this short film, she takes the viewer on a journey, explaining her passion for being on mountains, why she does it and what it takes to accomplish such a demanding venture.


Part of the documentary consists of Maria being interviewed while in her home in Are, Sweden. As she speaks, she talks about her life, her childhood and how taking up this exciting sport has affected her life by making her see the world in other ways and appreciate its beauty more. There is footage of her working out at the gym, indicating that being a mountaineer is an activity that requires not just mental strength but also physical strength. There are also scenes that re-enact her childhood, with Noelle Grahn Sandin portraying Maria when she was a little girl and she is seen drawing inside her bedroom or walking in the countryside, providing an insight into Maria's personality. The film also includes the strong bond that Maria has with her father, Johnny.


As this is a documentary about mountaineering, there is a great deal of mountain climbing and many wonderful shots of snow-covered mountains, which are supported by Viktor Annerstal's stunning cinematography. A large part of the film is dedicated to Maria's attempt to reach the summit of Manaslu, Nepal in 2022 without the utilising supplemental oxygen, which she decided to do after she failed to achieve that the previous year. This part contains many aspects of this challenging activity: as she travels up Manaslu with her climbing expedition, the required gear are put into use such as tents, ropes, climbing gear and she films herself using her phone, talking about how things are going and commenting on the obstacles they are facing. Tragically, a fatal avalanche occurs at another part of the mountain, a terrible event whose presence in the documentary points out the dangers of mountaineering.


Interestingly, when Maria is being interviewed and when her voice is used as voice-over, she talks in Swedish and when she is recording herself during the expedition, she talks in English. The reason for this alternation is not clear, which does no harm as having her communicate in more than one language makes the viewing more intriguing.


This is a dramatic documentary that introduces the audience to an individual who follows her passion and enjoys a challenge and it offers an insight into the world of mountaineering. Bautifully shot and with a mesmerising score by Calle Wachtmeister, this is an admirable achievement.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film, Documentary
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