touching the Void
(2003) Directed by Kevin Macdonald
A once-in-a-lifetime story that became a truly great non-fiction film, Touching the Void was nevertheless controversial for its many re-enacted scenes and so, for some, is not a true documentary. But how can you show something that really happened if there was no camera there? It’s the “pics or it didn’t happen” argument, long before Instagram, and the solution is: make the pics and stay true to the story. The film also asks every viewer a question they can’t ignore, “What would you do in this situation?” and that only makes it more compelling. The situation is two climbers, one with a broken leg, dangling from a rope on a mountain in Peru, with no water, no fuel to melt snow for water and bad weather closing. Both will die unless the injured man is cut free, giving the uninjured man the chance to get help. You are the uninjured man, knife in hand. What would you do?