“Touching the Void” directed by Kevin MacDonald (2003)
Touching the Void is based on a 1988 book by Joe Simpson, describing his eventful climb of the 6,344-metre (20,813 foot) Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes with Simon Yates in 1985. The book went on to win the 1989 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature.
The film features Brendan Mackey as Joe Simpson, Nicholas Aaron as Simon Yates, and Ollie Ryall as Richard Hawking, and combines dramatisations of the climb with interviews with Yates, Simpson and Hawking. Joe Simpson and Simon Yates acted as consultants for the film, and appear as their younger selves for the long distance shots of Siula Grande in Peru.
After a two day walk in from civilisation, they begin an arduous climb up the west face of Siula Grande. Although they successfully summited the mountain, problems began during their descent when they were beset with storms and white out conditions. A serious injury leaves Simon Yates with the ultimate dilemma of whether to remain in a situation in which he and his climbing partner would both perish or take a decision to save himself.
The story is accurately recreated with technical precision and superb cinematography which showcase the stunning locations in the Andes and the Alps together with the mountain skills of Mackey and Aaron in the lead parts. Very compelling.
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