5 user 3 critic

Ghost Mountaineer (2015)

Must alpinist (original title)
Urmas Eero Liiv's feature film "Must alpinist" (Ghost Mountaineer) is a youth film with elements of horror which is based on real life events which took place during the Soviet era. It ... See full summary »


Urmas Eero Liiv


Urmas Eero Liiv
2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Priit Pius ... Eero
Reimo Sagor ... Olle
Hanna Martinson Hanna Martinson ... Marleen
Liis Lass Liis Lass ... Anne
Veiko Porkanen Veiko Porkanen ... Margus
Rait Õunapuu Rait Õunapuu ... Indrek
Vadim Andreev ... Militia man
Valerii Sanzheev Valerii Sanzheev ... Fotik
Vanda Iaksheeva Vanda Iaksheeva ... Morgue Lady
Andrei Vinokurov Andrei Vinokurov ... Vanja
Artjomi Dovgopolõi Artjomi Dovgopolõi ... Kolja
Jevgeni Solonikin Jevgeni Solonikin ... Chief of Irkutsk
Marina Jelina Marina Jelina ... Russian woman in post office


Urmas Eero Liiv's feature film "Must alpinist" (Ghost Mountaineer) is a youth film with elements of horror which is based on real life events which took place during the Soviet era. It tells the story of an Soviet Estonian student hiking group which gets caught up in a series of scary events unfolding in wintry Siberia. The unpopular group leader Olle (Reimo Sagor), who becomes disappointed in his companions during the trip, disappears on the last day in the mountains. His rival, liberal-minded and adventurous Eero (Priit Pius) guides the descending hikers into a Buryate village on the mountain to seek help. A weird and insane chain of events is unleashed which seems to be orchestrated by the missing Olle. In a foreign land and among people they do not know, the hikers are faced with a task which they at first do not want to undertake and later are unable to tackle. Written by Kopli Kinokompanii

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User Reviews

Intense thriller based on a true story and with a rare glimpse on ethnic relations in the 80s USSR
24 December 2017 | by georgekaplan2See all my reviews

A fascinating Estonian angle on Nordic noir, "The Ghost Mountaineer" is an excellent and original autobiographical thriller by Estonian documentary filmmaker Urmas Eero Liiv, a one-time biologist and a mountaineer. It tells the story of a group of late-Soviet Estonian university students embarking on a long hike in the snowy mountains and valleys of Buryat mountains in Siberia in search for the rare nephrite-rocks and, of course, fun. On the way, they lose one of their own and are forced to struggle with the harsh Siberian climate, their own inner-demons, perverse provincial Soviet bureaucrats, and the seemingly mysterious Buryat natives, semi-tamed by the European "civilization" of the Soviet/Russian type.

The imdb plot description and the previous reviewers seriously misrepresent this film. This is neither a youth film, nor an adventure movie. This is no horror flick or an orientalizing supernatural fantasy. It is a realistic thriller about youngsters from the European part of the USSR encountering the far-away Soviet East and its provinical colonial Russian bureaucrats. Kalatozov's "Letter Never Sent" meets with Peter Weir meets with the best of contemporary Nordic thrillers. Though the depiction of Buryats and Russian bureaucrats could have been subtler, it honestly represents the ethnic projections, stereotypes, and relationships in the USSR on the eve of its collapse, without any retroactive political correctness so typical to the morally monistic cinema today. The film's dream sequences not only shock, but also offer an interesting glimpse at how the Estonian youngsters project their culturally conditioned fears on the strange environment, and the film makes it pretty clear that this point of view has little to do with the much more complex social reality existing in the Buryat village at the time (the film was shot on location in the same Buryat village, where the actual events took place).

This is a very fine snowy thriller and an excellent debut for Urmas E. Liiv. I hope he will return to feature filmmaking very soon.

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Estonian | Russian

Release Date:

27 November 2015 (Estonia) See more »

Also Known As:

Ghost Mountaineer See more »

Filming Locations:

Buryatia, Russia See more »


Box Office


EUR800,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Kopli Kinokompanii See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR (RCA Sound Recording)


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