Have you ever heard of the Tooth traverse? The breathtaking group of summits lay fifteen miles to the southeast of Denali, the highest peak from North America. No? Well, then it’s time you discover them. You can try to climb the mountains, or if you’re uncomfortable with heights, then we suggest you watch “The Sanctity of Space”.
In this new documentary from directors Renan Ozturk (“Ashes to Ashes”, “Reel Rock 7”) and Freddie Wilkinson (“The Old Breed”), you get to see Tooth traverse from different angles and how professional climbers are preparing to take on the most challenging climbs of their life. The result is a once-in-a-lifetime journey and a thrilling and stunningly filmed documentary.
The Tooth traverse has proven the biggest challenge in life for many climbers. When you look at it, you see that it seems like a dangerous open jaw. The different summits are called Eye Tooth, Moose’s Tooth, Broken Tooth and Sugar Tooth. Many mountaineers tried to conquer this natural wonder, but none prevailed.
In this documentary, you follow the attempt of professional climbers Freddie Wilkinson, Zach Smith and Renan Ozturk. They want to be the first to succeed in the lateral climb on the Tooth traverse. Will they fulfil their dream and make history, or is this natural wonder just too difficult to overcome? That’s for you to find out.
When making a (nature) documentary, it’s probably harder to set yourself apart from other documentary makers because there’s only so much you can do. The directors went for the more traditional approach of documentary telling.
There are the obvious breath taking wide shots from above, which will leave you breathless. Of course, there is also the thrilling and close-up handheld camera footage, thanks to which it feels like you’re trying to climb the Tooth traverse yourself.
Also, interview-style scenes are present in this movie, which give you an excellent insight into the life of the different mountaineers. Those traditional aspects are accompanied by black and white footage and old-school pictures to show the climbing history beautifully.
If you’ve seen “Lost on Everest” and “Reel Rock 7” from Ozturk and “The Old Breed” from Wilkinson, then you know both directors have a passion for mountains and climbing, and that love shines through when watching “The Sanctity of Space”.
Adding that black and white footage is absolutely a great touch, but sadly, it’s also a little bit of a let-down as it slightly negatively impacts the storyline. Going back in history is fine, but the filmmakers want to tell too much of the history, resulting in an unbalanced storyline that struggles with pace and structure. This documentary’s first and last parts are beautifully structured and highly captivating, but the middle part lacks consistency.
“The Sanctity of Space” might not be the most innovative nature documentary we’ve ever seen, and the second part feels sluggish and inconsistent. That being said though, we suggest you watch and especially if you get the chance to see this beautiful documentary in the cinema. The very intriguing (and probably unknown) story, the stunning shots, and the passion for mountains and documentary making are just too beautiful to miss or to watch on a small screen.
4th March 2022
THE QUICK SELL
Breathtakingly shot documentary records long push to cross a series of Alaskan mountains, and the geographer who first charted them