Narrative conventions

The opening sequence really attracts the audience, the first thing we see is a black screen, with white writing on the left side, outlining facts and figures about the mountain and the journey, this actively involves the audience. Following this we have a slow-paced, visually exciting sequence of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes, there are lots of establishing shots of the mountains and characters. This is anchored to sound, which has been amplified, to create strong sound effects echoing through reconstructions of the journey.   We cut between this and the silent interviews with the main characters, the editing emphasizes important phrases which are clues to what is to come in the story; “…at some point you have to reply wholly on your climbing partner…”.

Field states that the beginning of a screenplay needs to establish three things “the character...the dramatic (or comedic) premise…and the situation” (Syd Field, 2005, pg. 100). With this in mind the opening hook of Touching the Void does everything it should; the story is well established, we know the goal of the characters, we know the conditions they will need to overcome and there is a dramatic presence which drags the viewer in.

“Endings and beginnings: two sides of the same coin.” (Syd Field, 2005. p104)

This is true in Touching the Void as we have a bookended story; we end the story exactly the way we started, with the three characters and their belongings at base camp, cutting to the same black screens.

Touching the Void adheres closely to the three-act structure outlined by Field. There is a clear separation of the three acts created by the storyline, plot-points and the editing. The act breaks follow the timings that Field outlines, with act one ending at thirty minutes, act two ending at sixty-seven minutes and resolution at one hundred minutes. As discussed the opening act fulfills its purpose, and the second act does not fail to do the same. Field states...