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At last! The haunting and beautiful “THE MOUNTAINS ARE A DREAM THAT CALL TO ME” gets a release on the Criterion Channel

Film stars Sanjay Lama Dong and Alice Cummins
Directed by Cedric Cheung-Lau

Nearly four years ago, I watched one of the most incredible films I’ve ever seen at Sundance. Cedric Cheung-Lau took to the stage at a theater in central Salt Lake City to introduce “The Mountains Are a Dream That Call to Me,” which I described at the time as “hypnosis in motion.” I shook his hand after the screening, thanking him for this unique cinematic experience.

I named it my best film of 2020 and spent the next few months tracking down its makers to give it a second look. Cheung-Lau was gracious enough to join me for a lengthy interview in the spring of 2021 as the pandemic continued to rage and movie theaters remained largely empty. When I asked if “Mountains” might soon be seen by a greater audience, he chuckled and said, “We went into Sundance [in 2020] having some strategy about how to proceed and what we were hoping for. And once the shutdown happened, everything went up in the air.”

Eric Althoff interviews Cedric Cheung-Lau 

He and his reps promised to keep me abreast of any movement. At long last, there is some good news!

“Mountains” is now available for a limited time on the Criterion Channel, and I am proud to help point the way towards its enjoyment (here). It might not be on the big screen (Cheung-Lau, of course, said that is the best place for it to be enjoyed), but thanks to streaming, you too can enjoy this hauntingly beautiful film, which centers on two people who meet hiking in the Himalayas. The dreamlike narrative they inhabit after that is unlike any other movie that has come before—it is pure cinema.

Cedric Cheung-Lau

Explaining its plot does no justice to the experience of this amazing film, which I look forward to enjoying again many, many times to come.

“The team and I could not be more thrilled about The Mountains are a Dream that Call to Me finally getting its release,” Cheung-Lau told me recently. “After waiting so long for this film to reach a larger audience, it’s a relief to finally have a home for it, especially in a place with such excellent company as the Criterion Channel.

“Like many film lovers, the logo of the spinning C is one that almost all my dreams begin with, so to be associated with them is truly a dream come true.”

Sundance 2020: Eric Althoff’s TOP TEN FILMS

The enjoyment of film is a necessarily singular experience: What I like may not do it for you. But the job of critics is to point readers towards both the exceptional and well-known (e.g., “Oppenheimer”) as well as those beautiful smaller films so deserving of more attention—such as this one.

“I’m so grateful to [Criterion Channel] and so grateful that the film has a chance to reach and hopefully connect with another audience, which was the reason I made the film in the first place,” the writer-director said.

Whether you are a casual movie watcher or a dedicated cinephile, “The Mountains Are a Dream That Call to Me” is a cinematic experience. It remains one of the best films I’ve ever seen, and I, too, am grateful to be able to share in its beauty yet again.

I hope you do so as well.

“The Mountains are a Dream that Call to Me” is available on the Criterion Channel.