A Letter To Elia
Martin Scorsese narrates and co-directs a documentary on the late filmmaker Elia Kazan
On Film4: 20 Apr 2:50AM
Stunning docudrama about a 1985 mountaineering expedition that went horribly wrong, told in the words of the survivors. From the director of the Oscar-winning One Day In September
If you're of a squeamish disposition, look away now. When Joe Simpson fell off the 6344 metre high Andean mountain Siula Grande during an informal expedition with his friend Simon Yates, he shattered his leg, the bone splitting over his kneecap. They had only just started the descent and, with no rescue team, Simon began to lower Joe down the treacherous slopes until he accidentally sent him over a crevasse. There was no way back, and after desperately hanging on in the freezing cold for over an hour, Simon did the only thing he could - he cut the rope. Joe fell 50 metres into a cave of ice but miraculously survived, and his amazing mix of courage and blind stubbornness saw him inch his way back down the mountain over three agonising days.
Based on Simpson's book of the same name, written after the climbing community practically excommunicated Yates for his actions, it has been brought to the screen by Kevin Macdonald, the director behind the Oscar-winning One Day In September. Yates and Simpson's talking heads are intercut with footage of actors (Aaron and Mackey) re-creating the story, and while the drama is powerful on its own, the film belongs to the real life adventurers. Blessed with that very English dry wit and tendency to understate, they tell their tale vividly and their total honesty makes it even more admirable.
Superlatives get bandied about a lot, but Touching The Void manages to be deeply affecting and inspiring without resorting to mushy sentimentality. A film to make you believe in heroes again.
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Commissioning Executive Anna Higgs on creating a prequel to Lenny Abrahamson¿s Frank via the most natural storytelling medium possible for the character involved: Twitter The @JonBurroughs83 Twitter