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5/13/11

ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD - REVIEW


With Werner Herzog documentaries, you never really know what to expect. Would you have thought for one second that The Wild Blue Yonder would have been a sci-fi alien movie set on another planet which in fact is Earth and...actually it turns out you're not watching a sci-fi alien movie at all but an abstract documentary about...Man?!

Yeah, this one's not that mad but in the same spirit.

Like the filmmaker states early on, this isn't another movie about penguins. It isn't even really a movie about the beauty of Antarctica but rather a realistic look at the place and mostly the weirdos that work there, clearly isolated from the rest of the world and slowly, it seems, becoming eccentric hermits as a result.
Herzog doesn't sugarcoat Antarctica for us. Sure he shows us the beauty of the glaciers etc. but also questions the validity of Man's presence there and how it's essentially awkward for us to be there in the first place (hence the rampant madness going around?). He looks at the absurdity of the people's training methods, the initially disappointing industrial look of the place itself and the tragic fate of...suicidal homosexual penguins...

All in all it's a fascinating piece as usual and well worth seeing. It's definitely a deeper, more depressing film than you'd expect so stick to David Attenborough if you just want to see tadpoles floating around in HD glaciers, making merry old incestuous love under the ice.

A must-see especially for Herzog fanatics.

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