180° South

Some time ago, I watched a film called 180° South.  It follows a young man (Jeff Johnson) attempting to re-trace Yvon Chouinard (Founder of Patagonia) and Doug Tompkins’s  (Founder of The North Face) adventure into Patagonia, Chile.  In the late 1960s, Chouinard and Tompkin made their way from the US to Patagonia via van to climb Cerro Corcovado, a volcano in Patagonia.  Johnson decided to do the same, but by boat, bringing along some of his climbing and surfing buddies.

The film is not an adrenaline rush, but rather a fairly quiet film about climbing, surfing, and the joy of being immersed in Patagonia wildlands, while bringing in some of the ecological issues surrounding Patagonia.  Some of the main issues involve agriculture, hydroelectric dams, and commercial fishing.  There isn’t an overbearing conservation theme; it seems that it just naturally arises from the fact that their goals, climbing and surfing, happen to require preserved lands.

The film is beautifully shot.  Given that we won’t be able to make our way that far south, this film provides wonderful footage of Patagonia.  Even if you’re not a climber or surfer, it’s still an interesting film.