By Adam Markovitz
Updated September 13, 2010 at 01:22 PM EDT
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Image Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty ImagesLast night, at the first public screening since its world premiere at Telluride last week, Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours had an audience of eager Toronto Film Festival-goers squirming in their seats — and then jumping t0 their feet for a standing ovation. Based on the true story of outdoorsman Aron Ralston (played by James Franco), who was forced to amputate part of his own arm after it got stuck under a boulder, the film (out Nov. 5) is an intense, graphic, and (at around 90 minutes) compact experience that had plenty of viewers peeking at the screen through parted fingers. The climactic amputation scene in particular drew a a few muffled yelps from moviegoers who broke out in applause when the limb was finally severed.

Following a lengthy standing ovation, filmmaker Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) took the stage, accompanied by star James Franco (Eat Pray Love) and the real Aron Ralston himself, who fought back tears while describing the experience of watching the movie with an audience that included his wife and sister. “I have to say thank you to everyone who’s standing next to me on the stage,” said Ralston, who revealed that he had originally wanted the filmmakers to create a documentary — and not a feature film — about the events that inspired his 2004 memoir Between a Rock and a Hard Place. “As a documentary it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as powerful as what that was. Thank you for convincing me otherwise.”

Franco, whose performance is already earning Oscar buzz, paid back the compliment, giving thanks to Ralston for sharing not only his recollections of the incident, but also the actual video tapes he shot while stuck in the canyon seven years ago. “I’ve really never seen anything like that,” said the actor. “It guided me through the performance.”

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