It seems that a mountaineering film, of a Polish expedition to Nanda Devi East that has been missing for 69 years has been recently found in the archives of the British Film Institute in London. A mountain climber and filmmaker named Anna T. Pietraszek found the film, with the help of London-based film producer Anna Naszyńska, after a long and exhausting search. To make things even more interesting, the film is said to be in “excellent condition, and the fact that it was shot on 35mm bodes well for it’s quality.
The Polish expedition set out for Nanda Devi East back in 1939. Two of the climbers, Jakub Bujak and Janusz Klarner, actually reached the summit at 7434m, claiming the first ascent, while their two teammates, Adam Karpinski and Stefan Bernadzikiewicz, perished in an avalanche on the way up. Bernadzikiewicz was the one shooting the film, so there is not footage of the summit. The camera and film was recovered from the avalanche after the fact. The footage is said to offer some amazing panoramic shots of the surrounding area. Considering that man mountaineers consider Nanda Devi to be amongst the most beautiful mountains in the World, the images could be quite remarkable indeed. Pietraszek and Naszyńska say they intend to make a documentary about the climb and will use some of the footage in their film.
I simply think it’s amazing that a film missing for nearly 70 years can be found like this, and in great condition no less. I have the impression that the British Film Institute’s archive is like that giant warehouse at the end of Raider’s of the Lost Ark where the U.S. Government wheeled off the Ark, never to be seen again. Do they have a huge store house of films like this one just sitting around waiting to be discovered? Is that the premise of the new Indiana Jones film? Indiana Jones and the Lost Film Reels?
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