Touching the Void
Dir. Kevin MacDonald. 2003, 106 mins. 35mm. In 1985, British mountain climbers Joe Simpson and John Yates climbed Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes, becoming the first men to scale the 21,000-foot mountain. Their joy in reaching the summit, however, quickly turned to tragedy during their descent: Simpson suffered a brutal fall into the darkness and his friend Yates left him for dead. Simpson, however, survived under impossible circumstances and made it through an ice wall and the incredibly steep mountain camps—after losing one leg. Based on Simpson’s 1988 memoir, Touching the Void retraces the climbers’ white-knuckle journey through affecting reenactments and gripping current footage, bringing to life this truly inspirational story in which man does triumph over the perils of nature. The Village Voice’s Jessica Winter wrote, “Touching the Void unexpectedly bridges genres—it’s a buddy movie, a horror story, a boy’s-own adventure, and a near metaphysical meditation on the limits of human endurance.”
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