Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey

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Group: Mill Valley Film Festival

When: Friday, October 6, 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Where: Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center

Cost: $15


Portraying a stubbornly independent spirit—and a legend among mountain climbers for generations—this lively documentary celebrates an exceptional life and chronicles the sublime thrill of ascending never-before-attained peaks. Well into his late 80s, Fred Beckey has yet to surrender his ropes and crampons as he continues to scale alpine walls. Animation, archival footage, and the stories spun by Beckey’s fellow climbers bring his past conquests, as well as his checkered history, to vivid life. Director Dave O’Leske charts the logistics and aesthetics of Beckey’s various lines of ascent, underlining his accomplishments and exposing a kind of beauty in the relationship between man and mountain face. Beckey’s lifestyle has been rough and ready, leaving a trail of awkward and abandoned relationships. But there is a sort of idiosyncratic glory to his individualism and refusal to give in to convention as he relentlessly pursues lofty new paths to surmount.

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