THE BECKONING SILENCE
United Kingdom / 2007 / 73'
Joe Simpson, whose battle for survival featured in Touching the Void, travels to the Eiger to tell the story of one of mountaineering’s most epic tragedies. Toni Kurtz was a brilliant mountaineer who in 1936 tried to be the first to conquer the Eiger. The Beckoning Silence recounts Kurtz’s heroic battle for survival but it also forces Simpson to confront some fundamental questions of his own. Why continue climbing when you have come so close to oblivion? Kurtz’s assault on the mountain started well, but then one by one his colleagues were killed leaving him alone, hanging on the end of a rope fighting for his life in the most horrific circumstances.
Mountaineer Joe Simpson’s bone-shattered crawl back to life after an accident cast him into a deep chasm in the Andes. Here, Louise Osmond films Simpson’s pragmatic but poetic memoir on how his lust for climbing came about; the six-year-old all agape as his father recounted the trials and terrors of a group of climbers scaling the then-untouched north face of the Eiger. Weaved into the sensitively dramatised footage, Simpson narrates how his own accident and recent memories of the horrors suffered by climbers have cooled his passion for the peaks, revealing a harrowing, humane story.
Louise studied Modern History at Oxford and then participated in the ITN Editorial Trainee programme. Among her documentary films: Blitz: London's Firestorm, The Search for the Northwest Passage and Looking for Victoria. In 2005 she founded the production company World's End Picture. Her full-length documentary film Deep Water (2005) gained the Cult award as best documentary film at the Film Festival of Rome.