Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey (2017): USA,Canada,China

Reviewed by Margaux Pfau. Viewed at the Santa Barbara Film Festival 2018.

Dave O’Leske (Spirit of Snow) recounts the amazing life journey of the legendary rock climber, Fred Beckey through a 96 minutes documentary.
From his first expeditions with his brother and his crew to his very last climbs at the age of 93.

It is the only documentary you can see about Beckey because he has denied any other project. Considering his personality it is not really surprising. Indeed, the documentary is called “Dirtbag” because people were actually calling him like that. He was known for being really nonchalant and not giving a sh** about anyone or anything, including his lifestyle, eating fast foods and sleeping next to roads.

O’Leske has used archives for the biopic but also chose to put animations to remake some adventures which brings a funny and poetic vibe.

The documentary is full of amazing landscapes and really transport us to the fabulous adventures Beckey had.

The audience ends up realizing that behind the “dirtbag”, was hidden a real mad mountains scholar whose life and work was inspired by women.


O’Leske was at the projection for a Q&A.

He said that the project lasted 12 years because as long as Beckey was alive, he would keep going on climbing adventures. Unfortunately, Beckey passed away in October 2017.



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