Touching the Void

To describe Touching the Void as a mountaineering documentary would be to do this breathtaking drama an injustice. By intercutting narration from the climbers themselves with a nail-biting reconstruction of their remarkable adventure in the Peruvian Andes, the film has the best of both genres: the authentic stamp of factual storytelling and the edge-of-the-seat tension of a dramatic movie.

In 1985, two British mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, embarked on a daring–arguably reckless in the extreme–attempt to climb the previously unconquered mountain Suila Grande. A mixture of overconfidence in their own abilities and underestimation of the climb’s difficulties brought them to grief after the successful slog to the summit. What follows is an often harrowing account of their perilous descent, during which Joe horribly shatters his leg and Simon is forced to cut the support rope on which Joe’s life, quite literally, is hanging by the proverbial thread. It’s no secret that both climbers lived to tell the tale, but at every stage the audience will be left guessing just how the crippled Simpson could possibly have found the inner strength to surmount each deadly trial.

Based on Joe Simpson’s gripping book, the film boasts glorious widescreen photography of Suila Grande and its notorious glacier. Actors take the place of the two climbers for close-ups, though Simpson did return to Peru in order to re-enact parts of his dreadful crawl back down the ice. The story of Simpson’s almost superhuman fortitude has become legendary in climbing circles, and even for viewers uninterested in mountaineering, Touching the Void is an astonishing slice of real-life drama, magnificently retold.

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  1. The video won’t play! 🙁 I’d love to see it. Although I’m partial to this site, does anyone know where I can watch it?

  2. Can you all believe how tough and durable our bodies are?

  3. Wow, what a story, what an ordeal. You hear stories like this one and think… there’s no way I could have kept going. Awesome determination (stubbornness) and heart. I don’t understand why Simon has been criticized. What choice did he have? Just to sit there & die or slowly creep along to the edge. And then what? I certainly wouldn’t resent it if someone made a similar decision with me on the end of the rope.

  4. “i was holding back because i really didn’t feel that was a human being out there” 
    -What a fucking faggot and a useless moron as well man……

  5. How long is he going to go on a about crossing the fucking rocks? If he heard shouting, it’s me screaming Joe finish the fucking story you fuck.

  6. “Touching Cloth” would have been a better title.

  7. “Touching Cloth” would have been a better title.

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