The Summit of the Gods | Movie Analysis

Analysis of The Summit of the Gods (Le Sommet des Dieux)

The Summit of the Gods (Le Sommet des Dieux), a 2021 animated adventure drama French film based on the Japanese manga series of the same name by Jiro Taniguchi, is an animation movie revolving around the themes of nature, adventure, survival, and the idea of the unknown. The Summit of the Gods is filled with deep and dark blue hues throughout, as if warning the viewers of how lethal the icy blue could be, even killing several in the past couple of decades. 

Watch the Trailer of The Summit of the Gods Here :

Translated in English as The Summit of the Gods, this 2-D animation is presented in its bare bones, thus making it pretty straightforward. It follows the story of Makuto Fukamachi in his pursuit of looking for answers to questions that he believes will redefine his life, which in a way is true since, towards the end of the movie, we see Fukamachi in a different light, soaring to new heights and doing what he actually loves, despite not know if he will live to tell the story of success to everyone.

The Summit of the Gods | Movie Info


Director: Patrick Imbert

Producer: Jean-Charles Osotorero, Didier Brunner, Damien Brunner

Cast: Lazare Herson-Macarel, Eric Herson-Macarel, Damien Boisseau, Elisabeth Ventura, Kylian Rehlinger, François Dunoyer, Philippe Vincent, Luc Bernard.

Release Date: September 22, 2021 (worldwide)


The Summit of the Gods | Summary & Analysis

The movie opens in its usual setting, in the middle of a snow-covered mountain which provides comfort to the narrator, Fukamachi, a young Japanese reporter who is interested and too invested in mountains and the people who mount them. Opening on the southwest side of the Everest summit, he intercepts the radio message for the group of three mountaineers where they are sent a message of an upcoming storm and asked to abandon the summit and return to base. He is confused as to why they still want to continue climbing a mountain when they know their death might await them there, unable to grasp his mind around the idea of doing something that entirely risks one’s life. This dilemma is something the viewers also face at the start of the film. Going towards a destination for a purpose is understandable, however, what drives one to climb up to the highest and the most dangerous of the mountains despite knowing the risks is something nobody seems to have an answer to. 

 Upon a turn of events, he also has the chance to meet a mysterious but long-forgotten mountain climber, Habu Joji in an alley where he is seen assaulting another man for something. What he sees is what he believes to be George Mallory’s camera. Seeing that, the wires in his brain start ratting as he wonders if developing the film reel of the camera would give him answers that no one else had a chance to venture upon. He believes that this could change the history of mountaineering entirely, changing the first-ever Everest climber from Sir Hillary and Tenzin Norgay to George Mallory and Irvine. However, as he tries to approach Habu, he disappears into the shadows of the alley and is never found again. After convincing his senior at the reporting agency with a promise to bring an article on Mallory’s lost camera, Fukamachi then ventures on a journey that revolves around the life of the mysterious mountaineer who now lives away from the eyes of the public and may be preparing for his final summit too. 

Fukamachi tries to find more about Habu’s past through newspapers and articles. A mysterious man who seemed to have climbed every dangerous peak in his time, Habu was greatly covered by the articles, making it easy for Fukamachi to follow his story through papers. However, when we are introduced to a younger-looking Habu, probably in his twenties, we find an arrogant angry man who is not familiar with the idea of working as a team and often hurts people around him, intentionally and unintentionally. However, one also seems to wonder if this is a pre-conceived notion fit in our minds for him and we do not see a picture bigger than this. Because despite his harsh words, what he speaks is the truth or is sensical, which no one can question, whether it is about the dilemma of cutting the rope if your partner ends up in a position that is deathly for both of them or the lie about having a partner to convince a younger boy to not join him in the expedition. Even as a young boy, Habu is seen running on top of a mountain at the crack of a dawn, which probably was one of the first moments in his life that inspired him to take up mountaineering. The fascination is clearly visible in the young boy’s eyes even in a 2-D animation film, with a piece of victorious music in the background playing, as if the boy had found meaning in his life. 

Life was not easy for Habu. His inability to socialize and lack of resources often made him a victim but he could not let that affect his mountain climbing. When he did not have enough resources to join the rest of the group in their expensive expedition, he decided to climb the demon wall in the winter with his climbing partner, Inoue. Success soon reached him and he gained overnight fame too. Because of his unique climbing style and his agility even at heights, he was the talk of the town. At a celebration party with his climbing group, he expresses his distaste for them in a subtle manner, even going as far as disregarding Inuoe’s help and efforts throughout the summit as well as his life because of a comment from a fellow climber about how he got lucky. 

During the party, he also meets Hase Tsuneo, who went on to become his greatest rival. They got acquainted at the party and Habu, in his excitement recited the whole expedition and how he tackled the problems face up. However, when the news of Hase climbing the demon wall in heavy winters alone reached his ears, he was upset knowing how he had unknowingly helped his supposed rival and rose him to fame. Hase’s success overshadowed Habu’s, which made him decide to climb up the walls alone too. Honestly, the truth was no other climber wanted to risk their life knowing Habu was fanatic to reach every mountain top and would leave his partner behind if the worst comes the worst, thus none volunteered to be willing to climb with him. However, Buntaro, a young man from his climbing group relentlessly tried to convince him to let him come with him. The young climber was good, thus Habu decided to give him a chance. However, during the climb, Buntaro slipped and was hung halfway down the mountain in a rather difficult position. Habu tried his best to get the climber up and give him support but the rope was too fragile to withstand that kind of friction. Believing he was a burden and Habu would eventually have to cut him off, Buntaro decided to take that step himself and fell to death. This incident of Buntaro’s sacrifice tormented Habu for years, upon which he decided to only climb alone from that point on.

Habu, in his climbs alone, conquered many mountain tops. He even participated to climb the great North faces of the Alps in the winter trilogy alone; The Eiger, the Matterhorn, and the Grandes Jorasses. Habu and Hase competed with each other for this one to become the first person to climb all three of them alone. After completing the first two climbs, Habu was, for the first time, in the lead while scaling the Grandes Jorasses. However, due to a series of mishaps, he slipped up and was hung halfway down the mountain. He is then rescued by Hase’s team where he also loses his two fingers, and as Hase is celebrated for becoming the first man to climb all the summits, Habu is forced to disappear into the darkness and never return to the world of fame. Habu, due to his guilt, used to send Buntaro’s sister money regularly. Fukamachi approaches her in hopes of knowing more about Habu and his location and stumbles upon a letter sent three years ago from Namche Bazaar, the last village to the southwest face of Mount Everest. During his digging, he also comes across a rejection application filed by Habu to climb the southwest face of Mount Everest during the month of winter, during heavy snowfall, all alone. He packs his bags and hurries to the location where he manages to convince Habu to let him join him at the summit in hopes of being a witness and capturing pictures of him for the proof that he climbed up the mountain. 

The journey begins and it is extremely difficult for both the men. During the journey, Fukamachi tries to ask him about Mallory’s Vestpocket Kodak but does not ever receive a response. Habu’s attempt to climb this summit, alone and without an oxygen mask was to leave behind a legacy because he knew Hase tried the same expedition and died before he could reach the top. In a series of events, we see them facing violent storms and avalanches, one of which Fukamachi almost loses his life but is saved by Habu who then forces him to return to the base. While Fukamachi returned to the valley, Habu continued with his summit. There is even a shot of him successfully climbing up the Everest but he dies while returning to the camp. Down at the foot, after waiting for Habu for several days, Fukamachi and the companion now decide to leave the place, knowing Habu is dead because no one could survive at that kind of altitude for days without an oxygen mask. While returning, the companion gives him Mallory’s vest pocket camera given to him by Habu. Fukamachi believes Habu sent it to him in hopes of having him understand why the mountain climbers risked everything they have to reach the top of the mountains, or what drives them and motivates them. Fukamachi develops the film reel of Mallory’s camera and is then shown to be climbing a mountain himself in the ending scene. This scene hints that how even the answer that the camera held wasn’t enough to answer the curiosity of the reporter which is why he took upon the challenge of climbing to the top of the mountains to know the real reason.




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