Bowling for Columbine & Touching the Void
In the following essay I will compare two documentary films, Bowling for Columbine, Directed and written by Michael Moore, and Touching the Void, Directed by Kevin Macdonald and adapted from the book of the same name, focusing on documentary elements such as dramatic development, structure and subjective and objective aspects. I will also highlight and detail their presentational techniques.
Bowling for Columbine
A multi-award winning documentary written and directed by Michael Moore released in 2002. The film quickly gained critical acclaim for its hilarious and shocking footage centred on American gun culture. The film follows Moore as he investigates America’s, sometimes fanatical, fascination with guns and asks why, statistically America has the highest death rate with fire arms in the western world. To answer this question he interviews various groups, people and organisations directly related or involved with gun use, paying close attention to such tragedies as The Columbine High School massacre and The Shooting of Kayla Rolland. He also uses a great deal of archive footage to illustrate the history of gun obsession and intentionally inserts himself into the film.
Touching the Void
A docudrama released in 2003 recounting the harrowing tale of Joe Simpson and Simon Yeates two mountaineers who in the mid-80’s attempts to reach the summit of Siula Grande in Peru. They reach the top but upon decent Joe slips and breaks his leg. As the expedition spirals out of control Joe falls over an overhang with no way of climbing back up, Simon then makes the decision to cut his rope. However, Joe survives the fall and has to crawl the rest of the way down. The documentary focuses on his journey and uses first person interviews with mountaineers evolved coupled with a reconstruction of the event. These two techniques are intersected and dubbed over throughout giving a very dramatic tone for