Rarely can I have seen a documentary with so much recent, and active, participation from a man about whom I knew nothing beforehand but for whom I actually cared by the middle of the film. The term "free-spirit" is entirely suitable to describe the young Marc-André Leclerc, a man who spends his time travelling the globe ascending sheer cliffs of rock that would give an eagle acrophobia. The film could also have been called "the Individualist". The young man wasn't a loner, in any social sense, but he preferred the exhilaration of climbing - and enduring all the hostile conditions that accompanied that - on his own. Only reluctantly, I thought, did he agree to allow the photographers to accompany him - and boy, what photography they have created. We really get a sense of not just the peril as the young man climbed these monumental pieces of rock (without a rope), but of the sense of adventure, of determination and of purpose that drove him to tackle these toughest, and frequently beautiful, of obstacles that nature could put in his path. There are a few, poignant, contributions from fellow climbers, the photographers, his mother and his girlfriend - but somehow we don't really need them - this is a story about a young man determined to live his life on his own terms. Got to be an Oscar contender.
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Marc-André Leclerc climbs alone, far from the limelight. The free-spirited 23-year-old makes some of the boldest solo ascents in history. With no cameras and no margin for error, Leclerc's approach is the essence of solo adventure.
November 2, 2021