Der Vulkan

An Austrian filmmaker turns his lens on Mount St Helens

April 8, 2010

Quick: what cinematic calling card do Paul Newman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Pierce Brosnan all have in common? [Cue Jeopardy tune.]

If you guessed camping it up in disaster movies, specifically ones with volcanoes— When Time Ran Out, Volcano, and Dante’s Peak, respectively—then I’d wager a guess that you, dear reader, are not only a film buff, but a bit of a geology geek as well. That’s okay. I am too. Which is why I’m planning on stopping by the Hollywood Theater next Thursday (April 15) for the premiere of Mount St Helens: From Zero to Life.

Four years in the making, the film zooms in on the ecological recovery that has taken place on the slopes of St Helens since the 1980 eruption. Austrian filmmaker Jörg Daniel Hissen, whose previous works include a documentary about one of Christo and Jean-Claude’s famed bigger-than-life art projects, Wrapped Reichstag, culled hundreds of hours of observations inside the mountain’s blast zone into a gorgeous looking 52-minute treat, which from the trailer, looks to come complete with a sweeping score too.

Two researchers featured in the film—Charlie Crisafulli, an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, and Jon Major, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey—will also be on hand for a post-film question-and-answer session.

My first query: who would you pick to play yourself in a disaster flick?

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