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A Response to the film Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog
Presented in form of a documentary, the film Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog stands out as one of the most incisive presentations of human lifestyles and activities going on at the Antarctica. The film is written and directed by Werner Herzog with the assistance of Henry Kaiser and Phil Fairclough in the direction. The music is played by Henry Kaiser and David Lindley. Other contributors include Peter Zeitlinger in charge of cinematography, Joe Binj who is the editor, and Anrea Meditch, Eric Nelson, and Dave Harding who are all in the production team. The film was distributed by Revolver Entertainment and Image Entertainment of the United Kingdom alongside Discovery Films and THINKfilm of the United States.
Generally, it is a visit to the Antarctica with the intention of getting a view into the lifestyles of people living there; thus, as is tradition of producing films in the Antarctica, Herzog’s case avails a variation that is distinctively different. Instead of merely covering the animals and weather conditions, he finds a way of intertwining the hopes of the individuals living there alongside the landscape they dwell in with the prevalent advantages and disadvantages of the same.
It is worth noting that most of the film has adventure relating to these lifestyles and interviews with individuals living in the region that belong to different professions. The first of these begins at McMurdo Station where the team’s first group of interviewees comprise of Douglas McAyeal who happens to be a geologist and maintenance personnel of various who also work there. Besides exposing various verities about geology, these interviews show us the type of events these individuals encounter in their day to day activities. The next event is quite adventurous as it takes place in a seal camp just nearby.
Departure from this place is followed by an interview with Jan Powlowski and Samuel Browser who happen to be zoologist and biologist by professions respectively. Besides the interview with these individuals at a diving camp, the crew stages a guitar concert which also appears quite interesting and entertaining. This is followed by a return to McMurdo and subsequent interviews. Among other most outstanding interviews are those with volcanologists at Mount Erebus, Penguin Scientist at the South Pole, and the physicist; Peter Gorham at a helium balloon launch.
Besides these, the crew visits numerous other venues which include ice caves, South Pole tunnels, and Ernest Shackleton among many others to come up with an incisively analytical documentary that remains quite captivating and interesting.
It is worth noting that this film was acknowledgingly received by various critics and appeared in numerous top ten lists of film critic institutions. In two of them; The Philadelphia Inquirer and Variety, it topped the list while it became second in one, fourth in three others, eighth and ninth in one more each, and tenth in three more critics. To this extent, target audience considerably find the documentary relevant, purposeful, and substantially entertaining.
Just as the director indicates, it is agreeable that the documentary provides something more than traditional movies shot at the Antarctica do. This provision is found in the interactive approach that targets different employees as well as expatriates and professionals in various fields; getting to know their lifestyles in the Antarctica, as well as the challenges and benefits presented by this location. True to the words of Herzog, it is a combination of landscape and lifetime hopes.