Touching the Void

Although awkwardly structured as a docudrama, the 2004 Touching the Void is a case of story winning out over storytelling. It’s an adaptation of Joe Simpson’s classic 1988 account of a Peruvian climbing expedition that went very, very badly. Simpson and his partner, Simon Yates, both appear in the film, speaking separately before the unblinking lens in the manner of an Errol Morris documentary. This footage is great: two different, personable chaps frankly discussing a near-fatal calamity that changed both their lives. The other re-enacted footage of two actors tromping through the snow and ice is more problematic, particularly when the camera attempts to depict Simpson’s hallucinations and wandering after the unbelievable chain of events that separates him from Yates. Yet whatever its narrative deficiencies, Void is a film that is both gripping and harrowing because it’s real. You can’t believe these two guys lived to tell their tale—and what a tale it is. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Thu., June 17, 7 p.m., 2010

 
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