Metaphors are sometimes there for the taking. The Flemish documentary film-maker Pieter Van Eecke opens with big band members in red and black uniforms clambering up Chacaltaya, a barren mountaintop in the Andes. A ski lift and an abandoned shed are the only reminders of the fact that this is the highest ski resort in the world. But in the absence of snow, there are no skiers. There is a more catastrophic consequence as well. For the first time in many thousands of years, there is no longer a glacier and no melted water to nourish the low-lying areas. Van Eecke honours the principle that a documentary need not narrate things, but show you them. He follows Samuel, the ski lift operator who just like his forefathers has become one with the mountain. He invokes the ancient mountain spirits for help. Nearby, scientists study the changes in the atmosphere. The band members from the opening scene are like the orchestra that kept playing while the Titanic sank.

BE, 2016, dir.: Pieter Van Eecke, 70 min.

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