DIRECTED BY Anthony Geffen
When asked by a reporter why he felt the need to conquer Mount Everest, British climber George Mallory gave the famously laconic response ''Because it's there.'' Conrad Anker, the mountaineer who found Mallory's body during a 1999 expedition, 75 years after the Englishman had disappeared on Everest's slopes, has a more in-depth opinion. ''It's so iconic,'' says Anker. ''It infuses popular culture. It's the highest point on our planet, so it just calls out to us to surmount it.'' But despite its beauty and symbolic power, the mountain can be lethal. ''Most people don't realize that there are still plenty of dead bodies up there,'' says Anker. ''As a climber you have to make peace with death, with your own mortality.'' Director Anthony Geffen's PG-rated documentary The Wildest Dream splits time between the story of Mallory's fateful journey, which Anker and fellow climber Leo Houlding reenact in period-accurate gear, and Anker's own second summiting decades later. (The film also features voice-over narration from Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, and the late Natasha Richardson.) Would Anker like to try for a third ascent? ''Oh, never say never.''