Adaptation

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The excellent, tightly edited (28 minutes) Andy Parkin: A Life In Adaptation (£12 plus shipping, bluehippomedia.com) is a still, meditative portrait that doesn’t descend into the usual action sequences and first-person wankery about “the proj.” Andy Parkin is an ex-pat Brit who’s spent the last 25 years in Chamonix. An alpine badass (Broad Peak alpine style and the Walker Spur solo in winter), he survived an epic accident on the Rothorn in 1984 and thereafter moved more deeply into his art, critically acclaimed sculpture and painting that owes no small debt to mountain architecture. David Fair’s film showcases Parkin sculpting two dynamic scrap-metal humanoids at an abandoned téléphérique station high above Cham. There’s also some tight, high-def footage of Parkin — his physiology permanently altered by his accident but who nonetheless returned to the upper echelon of alpinism — on the snows of the Alps and at home in Britain. We learn a lot about this singular character in a short time: “That’s what climbing is to me — a philosophy, not a sport,” Parkin says in the opening minutes. Truer words about our discipline have not been spoken. — Matt Samet