touching the void

Essay by zseanzCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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Touching the Void is a documentary film brought out in 2003 which recalls the true life events of Simon Yates and Joe Simpson's near fatal attempt to climb Siula Grande (6,344m) in the Peruvian Andes.

The documentary begins with extreme close up shots of the ice and climbing equipment cutting and hitting the ice this gives the initial impression to the audience of the harsh conditions they are facing and what type of climbing they are doing is. They is also a strong use of diegetic sound of the wind whistling and the ice cracking and breaking to reinforce these extreme weather conditions. In contrast to this it then cuts to a close up shot to the face of a man who we then find out is Joe Simpson. There is no external sound other than his voice which grasps the audience's attention and allows them to focus on what he is saying.

He introduces the task that they had to face and as he describes the scale of what they are about to do, low pitched bellowing music begins to fade in to highlight the danger of their climb. The scene then moves to an establishing shot flying over the mountains displaying the vast landscape and scale of the mountains they are attempting to climb. The titles sequence then begins over the establishing shots of the mountains, as they emerge onto the screen there are also non diegetic sounds of wind blowing to accompany the moving titles.

As the main feature then begins we are introduced to each of the men involved with the climb all displayed with the same close up shot of their face for the interview. The following scene cuts between the interviews faces and the establishing shots of the landscape as they explain...