Encounters at the End of the World

Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

Dave Collett, who is on a very ambitious adventure right now (see DC On A Bike for details) recommended this film, having been to Antarctica himself. Werner Herzog writes, directs and (quite colourfully for a German) narrates a series of vignettes with the folks living and working across the vast and hostile continent.

Naturally, there are very curious characters, including a linguist in a place with no indigenous languages, various biologists and physicists, bus drivers and maintenance guys. Their stories vary between interesting and absurd, then back to puzzling by way of tedious. There must have been a few odd days in the editing booth, because on at least two occasions Herzog (as the narrator) talks over this subjects' dialogue to speed up their storytelling. This demonstrates Herzog's obvious confidence in his chosen medium, but as Beryl pointedly commented, some the soundtrack choices were less than thrilling, marring the moments when he opts to let the scenery do the talking. As always with Herzog, people's motivations are his most important goal, but I did get the feeling he was trying to get a rise out of the marine biologist studying the penguin colony when he asked about flippered homosexuality.

Conversation starters

  • Those folks were hopeless at the simulated rescue by human chain. Have they never read Whiteout by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber?
  • I get the feeling that Werner may not have built his own snow cave. But I'l give the dude a break; he was 65 at the time of the filming...
  • The spiny fast moving starfish were creepy! And I never imagined seals made those noises...


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