A conversation with Rick Alverson about The Mountain


The Mountain a film by Rick Alverson happens in 1950s America. Since his mother‘s confinement to an institution, Andy (Tye Sheridan) has lived in the shadow of his stoic father. A family acquaintance, Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum), employs the introverted young man as a photographer to document an asylum tour advocating for his increasingly controversial lobotomy procedure. As the tour progresses and Andy witnesses the doctor’s career and life unravel, he begins to identify with the institutions’ patients. Arriving at a California mountain town, a growing center of the New Age movement, they encounter an unconventional French healer who requests a lobotomy for his own daughter, Susan. The Mountain is set against the 1950’s “golden age” of American male supremacy,

Rick Alverson believes that: “In our current socio-political climate in the United States, the 50’s are either maligned or celebrated, depending on your political persuasion and demographic. It’s the era “Make America Great Again” references implicitly (sometimes explicitly) when gender norms and white male supremacy were the architecture of culture and politics, and unbridled aspiration was the fuel of society. The film looks to disrupt the cinematic-retro-narrative and aesthetic that has helped foster that nostalgia. It attempts to interrupt narrative as an anesthetizing agent and force the viewer to consider the container that carries the story. I like to think of it as a problem film, an anti-utopian film, that reasserts the beauty and necessity of the finite. ”

We had the opportunity of talking to Rick Alverson about The Mountain in a phone interview and we have posted the audio of this conversation as a podcast:

Rick Alverson (born June 25, 1971, Spokane, Washington) is an American filmmaker and musician living in Richmond, Virginia. His prior feature films include ENTERTAINMENT (2015) and THE COMEDY (2012). His work has screened at Sundance Film Festival, Locarno, New Directors / New Films, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and BAFICI among other film festivals. He has directed videos for Oneohtrix Point Never, Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olson, among others.


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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