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Touching the Void

Year: 2004
Director: Kevin McDonald
Cast: Joe Simpson, Simon Yates
A new way to tell a true story, with a staged account interspersed with interviews with the subjects.

It tells the incredible story of two British friends, Simon and Joe, who decided to climb an uncharted mountain in the icy Peruvian Andes and did so seemingly without incident when disaster struck and Joe badly shattered a leg during the descent with night and a storm closing in.

Lowering the injured Joe down the slope towards their base camp, Simon - at the top of the rope - waits for the signal of the rope going slack so he can come down himself because he has no idea that Joe has gone over a precipice and is hanging eighty feet in the air in the dead of night and a howling blizzard, hundreds of feet below him.

After spending over an hour like it, Simon starts to slip and has no choice but to cut the rope or risk killing them both. Joe plunges to the ice below, crashes through and finds himself a hundred feet down in a crevasse, on an inside edge with only blackness below him and a badly broken leg.

Simon makes it down, even sees the crevasse, and returns to the base camp, convinced Joe is dead.

For the next three agonising days, Joe lowers himself down further, realising that a hole at the bottom is his only chance of surviving (all the while knowing it will probably just mean he'll die deeper in the icy gloom).

Incredibly, there is one, and he drags himself back to the surface, back down the mountain and across the glacier to the base camp where Simon is waiting with Richard, the third member of the party who decided to wait at their camp, knowing Joe must be dead but unable to leave because of the sliver of uncertainty and hope.

An incredible story of human endurance (with Joe and Simon's interviews telling the real story of keeping going, one step or breath at a time), will and unbelievable luck, told in a very effective way.

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