In The Beckoning Silence, Joe Simpson--whose amazing battle for survival featured in the multi-award winning "Touching the Void"--travels to the treacherous North Face of the Eiger to tell ... See full synopsis »
Based on a true story, North Face is a suspenseful adventure film about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. Set in 1936, as Nazi propaganda urges the nation's ... See full summary »
For the past 26 years 16 expeditions have tried and failed to climb one of Pakistan's 8,000 meter peaks in winter. On February 2, 2011, Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards became ... See full summary »
Uses astonishing visuals to tell the intersecting stories of George Mallory, the first man to attempt a summit of Mount Everest, and Conrad Anker, the mountaineer who finds Mallory's frozen remains 75 years later.
A look at the history of one-time Gestapo commander Klaus Barbie, infamously known as "The Butcher of Lyon." This documentary's main focus will be on Barbie's post-war activities, in which ... See full summary »
In the mid-80's two young climbers attempted to reach the summit of Siula Grande in Peru; a feat that had previously been attempted but never achieved. With an extra man looking after base camp, Simon and Joe set off to scale the mount in one long push over several days. The peak is reached, however on the descent Joe falls and breaks his leg. Despite what it means, the two continue with Simon letting Joe out on a rope for 300 meters, then descending to join him and so on. However when Joe goes out over an overhang with no way of climbing back up, Simon makes the decision to cut the rope. Joe falls into a crevasse and Simon, assuming him dead, continues back down. Joe however survives the fall and was lucky to hit a ledge in the crevasse. This is the story of how he got back down. Written by
bob the moo
At the end of the movie, there's a written line claiming that Simon faced "strong criticism" from the climbing community after his return to England. This claim has been repeated in several press statements and reviews, but it's not correct. What really happened is that, one month after his return in Europe, Simon went climbing in the Alps, unaware that the Daily Mail newspaper had published a wildly incorrect version of the Siula story, implying that Simon had tried to kill Joe. This was of course absurd, and the British climbing community dismissed it immediately as nonsense. However, back home Simon discovered that a small group of senior members of the Mount Everest Foundation (the body that manages founding for climbing expeditions in the Greater Ranges) had misjudged the story and now wanted Simon excluded in the future from the MEF funds - a move that could basically kill Simon's climbing career. At this point however, Joe Simpson had a correct version of the Siula story published in a respected climbing magazine, and the whole issue was cleared. However, in the DVD commentary, Joe Simpson himself clearly says that Simon came under much criticism after returning home, and that he wrote Touching the Void to defend Simon. See more »
Joe wears a model of Cebe glacier glasses that didn't enter production until 2001. See more »
During the first part of the closing credits (before the crawl), the credits are accompanied by black-and-white pictures showing the three men's journey back into civilization; the final picture is of Joe in the hospital. See more »
Breathtaking Andean photography ... and a will to survive
Awe-inspiring work by director Kevin Macdonald takes us with a minimum of fuss to a corner of the Andes in Peru for this epic tale of endurance against the elements. After what appears to be a relatively rapid, routine conquering of a 22,000 foot peak, we are left contemplating what might be in store to fill out the rest of the film. Suffice to say we are told that eighty per cent of climbing accidents occur on the descent. Harrowing times in the extreme soon present themselves, with amazing camera work accompanied by stark human emotions as life-affecting decisions have to be made in the harshest of conditions. There are only three actors in this reconstruction of an actual climb made in the 1980s. The original climbers themselves personally add to the screenplay at appropriate moments, to what I believe is just the right extent for maximum effect. We are made to wonder what drives a couple of fit 25-year-olds to climb to such heights, in such conditions, with an insufficient gas supply, no oxygen, and no backup team. But that is sometimes the reckless nature of young people that age.
The viewer is left in no uncertain mind about the might of nature versus the insignificance of human effort. This is reinforced in most spectacular fashion by the use of zoom photography, underlining the sheer size of the Andes mountains. What does make the difference, though, is the strength of the human will, particularly when it comes to a matter of very survival. In this case we are given to believe this is largely driven by the fear of dying alone, but I found myself trying to identify what other motives might have been present in such dire circumstances. Considering the semi-documentary nature of the film, and the conditions under which it was made, I cannot rate Touching the Void less than 9 out of 10. It had me on the edge of my seat until the final credits.
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