The Summit of the Gods, an adaptation of the eponymous manga by Jiro Taniguchi, was first announced back in 2015. If it has taken this long to enter production, it’s because the team spent four years finding the right “artistic slant” on their 1,000-page source text. That gives you a sense of this project’s ambition.
The film, which tells the tale of a climber’s attempt to scale Everest’s south-west face, has been slowly building buzz on the European indie scene. Much of that is to do with the talent involved. Taniguchi himself was a renowned artist — Guillermo del Toro called him a “manga poet” — whose style came closer to Franco-Belgian comics than many of his Japanese peers. He gave his blessing to this adaptation before his death in 2017.
The all-European production is helmed by veteran animator Patrick Imbert (Ernest & Celestine) in his feature directorial debut. He has some top-flight artists by his side, including art director David Coquard-Dassault (Peripheria), and heavyweight producers including Didier Brunner (The Triplets of Belleville, Kirikou and the Sorceress). Brunner has called this “one of the most important films in my career.”