Summiting Everest could be the feat of a lifetime for nearly anybody. For Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the primary Nepali girl to achieve the height, it additionally meant difficult conventional gender norms in Nepal. And it required transcending a task that Nepali mountain guides have traditionally performed — specifically, serving to vacationer mountaineers fairly than taking the lead.
The documentary “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest,” directed by Nancy Svendsen (whose brother-in-law was a brother of Sherpa’s), explains how its title topic grew to become a famed determine in Nepal. Opening with footage of a memorial procession in Kathmandu in 1993, it makes clear on the outset that her file requires a tragic asterisk: Although she reached the summit on April 22 of that yr, she died on descent.
“I wasn’t born a mountaineer,” Sherpa says in an interview excerpted on the movie’s begin. “I’m only a housewife.” According to the documentary, the primary mountain she climbed to its peak was not in Nepal, however Mont Blanc in Europe. What she realized there served as inspiration for an ascent nearer to residence.
Drawing on interviews with relations and fellow climbers, “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest” describes the varied social, nationwide and monetary obstacles that Sherpa encountered. Jan Arnold, a New Zealand physician and climber who was on Everest contemporaneously, vividly explains the bodily toll that acclimating to the mountain can take.
While the interviewees converse of Sherpa with sincerity and affection, “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest” by no means locates a satisfying big-picture thought or formal method that will make it greater than an easy tribute.
Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 12 minutes. In theaters.