5.0 out of 5 stars Touching the Void
I first saw the DVD when I rented it from our library. People's will to live when things seem almost insurmountable is something that always interests me. I'd recommend this book to anyone who feels like life isn't worth living and giving up is their only option.
Published 4 months ago by Mrs Myrna R Sentes
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simpson's Void
"Touching the Void" is indeed a remarkable story of survival. Joe Simpson's ordeal is vividly recaptured by director Kevin McDonald. McDonald's rather straightforward style, with the real Joe Simpson and Simon Yates recounting their harrowing experience climbing, and then descending, the beautiful but brutal, Suila Grande, in the Peruvian Andes, works well here. If...
Published on July 10 2004 by S. Harris
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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching the Void,
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This review is from: Touching the Void [Import] (DVD)I first saw the DVD when I rented it from our library. People's will to live when things seem almost insurmountable is something that always interests me. I'd recommend this book to anyone who feels like life isn't worth living and giving up is their only option.
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into Human Endurance,
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Triumph of the Human Spirit,
This review is from: Touching the Void [Import] (DVD)"Touching the Void" is a partly re-enacted documentary of a climb of the western face of the Siula Grande in Peru in 1985. The details of the climb make for a fine and gripping film.
The brief details of the climb of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates is that their ascent is relatively straight forward despite the mountain being more technically difficult than they had expected. It on the descent that problems really began. Firstly and, obviously, critically, Simpson slipped on an ice ledge and smashed right leg. The only piece of good fortune being that no bone penetrated the skin. It was thus left to Yates to assist his partner to the base camp.
At this point, matters deteriorated further when Yates was forced to cut their connecting rope when Simpson had fallen over a cliff and was in danger of dragging his partner with him. Yates then proceeded to climb down having realistically left Simpson for dead. However, by a combination of luck and supreme courage, Simpson too made the descent but in a truly battered state. He had, for example, lost one third of his body weight!
Upon the climbers return to their native England, Yates was apparently criticised for cutting Yates loose. Simpson never joined this criticism but only praised Yates for his efforts.
The film is a re-enactment of the heroism of the two climbers. It outlines to all that mountain climbing is a dangerous past time that only the foolish and/or the brave can contemplate. The film should be seen by all if only for the wonderful telling of a story of heroism within a vast, magnificent and unforgiving landscape.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Frightening and Mind-Boggling,
This review is from: Touching the Void [Import] (DVD)There are few documentaries that can truly take your breath away and "Touching The Void" is a masterpiece. The true story of British mountain climbers of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates balances story telling, suspense and brilliant photography without falling down. Their decision to be the first climbers of Peru's Siula Grande via an arguably unapproachable ascent blends bravery and madness. What got these arrogant climbers into trouble? What happened on that mountain when both 'knew' they would die? How could either of them survive? Most intriguing is how could a man locked in a deep lightless crevasse with a severely broken leg get miles down the mountain and glacier? It's all told with interviews with both climbers spliced in between truly remarkable cinematography. The panoramic views and the treachery of the mountains weather are captured like no other film has done before. It is a nail-biter.
The extras are wonderful as well. How this film was made is another exercise in major accomplishments and "Return to Siula Grande" is startling when trying to understand these two men's emotions after such an ordeal. They both were tested on their personal beliefs in God and mortality. Their conclusions will surprise you. It was clearly the event of their lives. Recorded in Dolby 5.1, the sound adds a level of realism unlike most films.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!!,
Lately I've been obsessed with climbing books and documentaries and a friend recommended this one. I was somewhat concerned that the reenactments of the events would take away from the story but they are very realistic. (I'm actually getting goosebumps just thinking about it!) I really enjoyed the extras, including the making of the documentary and follow up with the climbers years after the event.
4.0 out of 5 stars Scaling mental mountains,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Yup, I'm a wuss - and proud of it,
This review is from: Touching the Void [Import] (DVD)Watching TOUCHING THE VOID, I was reminded of the dangers that face Real Men. This was after I chipped a nail while opening a can of non-alcoholic brew. But, at least my Mommie was sympathetic.
In 1985, two twenty-something Brits, Simon Yates and Joe Simpson, endeavored to climb the 21,000 foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. Climbing successfully to the top was easy compared to getting back down, during which Simpson falls off an ice wall driving a shin bone up through the kneecap and splitting his femur. The only good news is that the skin wasn't broken. As Simon subsequently struggles to get the two of them back off the peak, cruel bad luck and circumstance contrive to pitch Joe into a crevasse. Thinking his friend dead, Simon staggers into base camp and prepares to return home. In the meantime, Simpson, still alive, must either go it alone or face certain death from exhaustion and dehydration. Being "between a rock and a hard place" takes on new meaning.
Since this pseudo-documentary begins with interviews with the real Simon and Joe, the audience knows from the start that the latter lives. But that fact doesn't detract from the nail-biting nature of this superb depiction of dogged perseverance and survival recreated by the climbers' own words paired with a brilliant re-enactment of the story both in Peru and in the Alps in which Nicholas Aaron stars as Simon and Brendan Mackey as Joe. The visual link between the four is seamless because the actors are beat-up and sun and wind-burned to the point of being unrecognizable anyway. The climbing scenes, filmed by Kevin Macdonald at night and during storms as necessary to remain true to the story, are perhaps some of the best you'll ever see.
The only other film that comes to mind which gives real-life testimony to Man's remarkable ability to survive against the most terrible of Nature's odds is the THE ENDURANCE (2002), a brilliant chronicle of Ernest Shackleton's doomed 1914-1916 expedition to the South Pole.
My easy chair and the trashy novels I read for vicarious thrills have never looked so inviting.
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely riveting,
This review is from: Touching the Void [Import] (DVD)This story about an ill-fated Andean ascent by climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates is the most suspenseful outdoor-adventure film I have ever watched. While the story is a reenactment, the seamless blending of interviews with the principals and action footage made it easy to become fully absorbed in the climbers' harrowing experience. Their climb to the summit was standard mountaineering fare, but after Yates breaks his leg on the way down (the film interestingly notes that 80% of injuries occur during the descent), the remainder of the film had me cringing and wincing from the sheer horror of what Yates had to overcome to survive. His struggle to extricate himself from an incredibly dire situation brought him as close to the brink of survival as a human being can go, and it was interesting to see how his character, with its strong suits in arrogance, determination, and logic, made this possible. It was also fascinating to hear him describe how being beaten down so thoroughly by the elements utterly destroyed his ego and opened him to some interesting (if perhaps hallucinogenic) perceptions as he approached death. But while Yates lived through Hell on the expedition, I believe it was Simpson who was ultimately the most damaged by the experience. When Yates broke his leg, Simpson bravely attempted to lower him off the mountain with ropes. At one point, however, with no visibility and no ability to hear each other, Simpson didn't realize that he had lowered Yates beyond an overhang where Yates had no ability to cling to the cliff and take pressure off the rope. Nor was Yates able, with his broken leg and frozen hands, to climb back up. After more than an hour of bracing himself against the weight of Yates hanging from the rope, Simpson made the agonizing decision to cut the rope. He then assumed that Yates had died by falling into a deep crevasse, and so did not stop to explore the crevasse or go back to look for Yates. The irony of his unknowing proximity during the agonizing ordeal that followed for Yates no doubt haunts him. Afterwards, Simpson endured much criticism for his handling of the incident, though Yates has continued to staunchly defend him. In hearing the men describe the events in retrospect, it appeared to me that Yates had been able to overcome the experience emotionally (despite some panicky flashbacks when he revisited the mountain years later) but that Simpson continues to live with a burden of guilt and shame which, deserved or not, has caused him to throw up a defensive wall against any further emotional involvement or self-examination. To me, both men are extraordinary, and their story is not only a spellbinding survival saga but a fascinating examination of human nature.
4.0 out of 5 stars Siula Grande Clearly the Star of this Staggering Story,
This review is from: Touching the Void [Import] (DVD)TOUCHING THE VOID succeeds on many levels: it is a film about the power of Nature, the indomitable human spirit faced with survival, and the complexity of youthful delusions of grandeur that can result in tragic conflicts. As written by mountaineer Joe Simpson and Directed by Kevin Macdonald the film is a docudrama, splicing on camera interviews of the three men (Joe Simpson, Simon Yates, and Richard Hawking) involved in the controversial 1985 mountain climbing incident on the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes with "enacted" episodes by actors Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron, and Ollie Ryall. The incident is well known - an climbing expedition on the virginal West face of the Siula Grande results in a rather routine ascent but on the descent trauma occurs: Joe breaks his leg in a fall and slides into a demonic crevasse while Simon, thinking Joe is dead, cuts the supporting cord and descends to safety alone. The majority of the film deals with Joe's thoughts of his impending death, his struggle to keep attempting to return to safety despite his broken leg and lack of food and water, and his ultimate encounter with the 'void' of the universe which consumes us all at the point of death. The ending is history - Joe does live to tell (and write) this tale. Though docudramas can often be interesting but uninvolving, TOUCHING THE VOID rivets the viewer to the tale by the unrelenting awe of how man is able to struggle against the odds of Nature and survive. There are moments when the utter majesty of Siula Grande is presented as a lady of nature that refuses to be conquered and as such the photography and momentum of the director make this mountain the most important character in the story. Both the real men relating their true adventure on camera and the actors making visual the terrifying reality of the event are superb. Even for folks who shy away from the 'National Geographic-type' films will find this a compelling tale with many overlays about our place as man on the planet and in the universe.
5.0 out of 5 stars Une expérience unique,
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Touching the Void [Import] by Kevin Macdonald (DVD - 2004)