Some of the greatest camerawork of all-time, in my opinion;
Only contains films released between 1955 and 2016 (for now).
Encounters at the End of the World
Off the map, things get strange.
Herzog and cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger go to Antarctica to meet people who live and work there, and to capture footage of the continent's unique locations. Herzog's voiceover narration explains that his film will not be a typical Antarctica film about "fluffy penguins", but will explore the dreams of the people and the landscape.
Herzog once again, delivers a movie like nothing else. Something that makes you feel alive. Something that makes visiting Antarctica not only enjoyable but life affirming. It's that powerful.
If I could describe this film using only one word that word would be ethereal. Definition provided by Google, "extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world." That is such a perfect summation of the average Werner Herzog film. He takes something that may appear to be of this world and forces you to see it in the light he chooses. He turns Antarctica, a continent generally reserved for informative science documentaries and turns it into a piece of art. A creepy, cold, but extremely…
An Herzog film has this feeling, that Herzog presumably puts in his films, that make them appear as if we are simply observing them.
Especially when Herzog himself is narrating his films, it makes it as if the viewer is an alien who came down to Earth to observe the actions of the human beings.
This is sometimes Herzog's intention, like in Lessons of Darkness, or as the actual story as in The Wild Blue Yonder.
Herzog promised this film, set in Antartica, would not focus on fluffy penguins (which is half right, as there is a very brief part about them),
the film focuses more on human nature, our place on earth, the beauty of Antartica, and most of…
Part of my 5 Directors x 5 Unseen Films (5) challenge.
Writer-director Werner Herzog has a penchant for filming in locations where nobody else goes, from the depths of the Amazon rain forest to Alaskan tundra and caves deep in the earth. Here, he brings his endless curiosity to the Antarctic to capture images so strange and beautiful, they seem like worlds beyond this Earth.
Many of his subjects here are natural: microscopic single-celled species previously undiscovered, giant seals whose voices sound like the track from a Pink Floyd album, a deranged penguin bent on a suicidal trek across the frozen continent, and eerie colonies of mollusks and sea urchins living at sub-zero temperatures.
But the most interesting aspect of…
If there's one thing to be said about Herzog's view of nature, it's that it's at odds with the view of nature that most people (in my experience) share. I think most people view nature as beautiful and harmonious and giving, if a little dangerous. I don't share that view, and I doubt Herzog shares it either, even though he has a great affection for the natural world. His view of nature is not one of beauty, but one of chaos and murder:
"Of course we are challenging nature itself, and it hits back. It just hits back that's all and that's grandiose about it and we have to accept that it is much stronger than we are. Kinski always…
No, this is not a film about fluffy penguins... It's a film about fluffy SUICIDAL penguins. There's also some hum0ns tossed in there, but whatever, fuck 'em.
Three languages have died in the time it took me to write this review
Werner Herzog is an interesting man. This documentary is almost as interesting because of the way he makes it, as it is due to the subject matter. The subject is Antarctica, not only the landscape and creatures that survive there but the people that inhabit McMurdo station a scientific research site.
Herzog hates McMurdo on sight and given the blot it forms on Antarctica's pristine landscape its easy to understand why, but he has more patience and interest in the quirky and eccentric people that populate the station. A population of 1000 with as many PHD's it's the dreamers who Herzog seeks out before heading out onto, and under, the ice.
The photography is stunning but how much you enjoy…
I enjoyed this bit of Herzoginess, but I personally preferred "Antarctica: A Year on Ice" (2013). The subject is so alien to me that a straightforward who, what, when etc. style answered more of my questions than a philosophical piece. So - if you're deciding which to watch, pick the one for the mood you're in.
I remember learning that NASA trained its Apollo 11 astronauts in poetry so they could better describe what the moon was like to other 3.6 billion of us. There continues to be argued that we should be sending poets and philosophers to Mars in place of a few scientists. Werner Herzog is a one such poet and philosopher. His great gift, it seems to me particularly in his wonderful documentaries, is that he notices things and points them out to us. And when you get right down to it, isn’t the main job of the poet and artist to be a Noticer? So that is what Herzog has done for us in his film on Antarctica, which could serve as…
All through this documentary I had ideas for what I was going to say in my review, I had all of it planned, but now that it's over I'm just stuck and in awe trying to think of what I wanted to say. It's ghostly and ethereal, Antarctica looks beautiful beyond description and for the first time in possibly any nature documentary I was in awe of the underwater footage, taken back by how everything looked. I have issues with the pacing and some segments feel notably less important than others but I'm certain that Encounters at the End of the World is by far Herzog's best documentary that I've seen by far.
As, when this was released, Werner Herzog had reached his 40th year of filmmaking, it strongly appeared he had reached quite the purple patch, a 'second wind' of great artistic integrity and feeling, not seen since the time of his great alliance with actor Klaus Kinski. Infused with vigor and the boundless energy that comes with an insatiable quest for universal meaning and truth, first by exorcising his demons in 'My Best Fiend', then later coming across perhaps, in the doomed Timothy Treadwell of 'Grizzly Man', the closest thing to Kinski's 'good'-yet-perversely-demented doppelganger. Now, as he searches the world over for new mysteries, he has become just as important as the subject, and the art of documentary has become meaningless. He has created a new art.
as werner narrates the fate of a wandering penguin, his vacation to the north slideshow becomes an incredibly evocative vision of our existence on this planet.
A Good scientific as well as travel documentary
We share a native tongue, Werner Herzog and me, yet here he is at the end of the world, one of the least populated places on earth, pulling me aside, talking to me in a language that is not our own. It's almost as if he's become wise of a secret and he's looking to share. However, the words that are coming out of Herzog's mouth are English and not a clandestine code at all, it is a world language and the secret is not one at all either. It is more a general fascination with the world, with humans and the pursuit of knowledge. He's not out there to shine light on a specific subject, to reveal an absolute…
Werner Herzog does not disappoint in this fascinating documentary about Antarctica. The film gave much insight into the research being done there on the icy continent - featuring interviews with fascinating subjects that study marine life, volcanoes, penguins, and he even fit in a talk with a plumber that has ties with the ancient Aztecs. It's shot and scored beautifully, & as usual, Herzog provides profound narration.
Some of the greatest camerawork of all-time, in my opinion;
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Complete list. :-(