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Highest High

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It was almost 10 years ago, in May 1996, that five climbers died during a well-publicized expedition up Mt. Everest -- victims of an ill-timed snowstorm, their own hubris, and simple bad luck. An IMAX film crew were on their own expedition at the same time, filming material for Everest. After delaying their shoot to help with the rescue of the storm's mangled survivors, they continued on to the summit. The resulting film, which was released in 1998, is a standout in the IMAX oeuvre, which leans toward the educational film -- albeit one in an amped-up, stomach-churning big-screen format.

Everest is stomach-churning too, both viscerally -- a shot of feet crossing a quivering ladder that spans a bottomless crevasse -- and emotionally -- a dying climber's last call to his pregnant wife. This is a film on Mother Nature and human nature.

Everest will be screened as part of the 7th Annual Memphis IMAX Film Festival at the Pink Palace Museum. Other films include The Living Sea, Dolphins, Fighter Pilot, Vikings, and Alaska. The festival will take place on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday starting January 14th and running through February 20th. Everest will be shown each day at 2 p.m.

7th Annual Memphis IMAX Film Festival, January 14th-February 20th, at the Pink Palace IMAX Theatre (763-IMAX), $6.25-$8

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