Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
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…
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…
Even now he's well into the swing of a career revival that began with 2005's Grizzly Man, it still feels a bit startling and odd to see a Herzog film on a commercial channel (Quest, in this case) with ad breaks and everything.
One thing I like about Herzog's films is that he's very responsive to his surroundings. Give him a ruined old building and he'll turn in something like the last film of his I saw, Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices, where his camera roams and creeps around a series of fantasies and narrative tangents. In Encounters at the End of the World he's moving across a series of small, cramped research labs, and the film feels like it…
Marvelous film. The simplicity of storytelling allows for the basic truth of our existence to shine through with clarity and depth. Extra points for using Bulgarian music during the most spectacular scenes.
Werner Herzog: ''The National Science Foundation had invited me to Antarctica even though I left no doubt that I would not come up with another film about penguins.''
This is only my second Herzog 'documentary' experience, but it's immediately apparent that he does not want to cover well-trodden ground, instead he seeks to understand what motivates the subjects, what their dreams are and how he can find the 'ecstatic truth' (www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/herzogs-minnesota-declaration-defining-ecstatic-truth) through his lens.
In immersing us in the almost alien environment of Antarctica, we meet a mix of characters who all have very different reasons for being there, but also take their scientific mission very seriously and whether it be iceberg analysis, the study of seal and penguin patterns…
I'm kind of a weirdo and Antarctica is my favorite continent, so I'm a sucker for any film set there, whether it's THE THING, MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, or 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. And this documentary is a good examination at the types of lonely and strange people that live in this desolate area for long stretches of time. Aside from some amazing cinematography, it's fairly mundane and minor league Herzog. It's still worth watching if you're playing a videogame on your phone or folding laundry.
Side note: My favorite part of the film was when some lonely Antarctica nerd was prattling on and Herzog's voice over comes on hilariously noting that, "He continued to tell this story for a long time, but to make a long story short...". That nerd just got Zog'd!
In his signature eccentric style, Werner Herzog takes a contemplative journey to Antarctica to meet those people who have, by one circumstance or another, ended up living and working on this desolate continent.
Herzog and his team journey across the continent, from the permanent US Research Centre at McMurdo Station to the southernmost active volcano on earth, Mount Erebus. Against these varied backdrops, they meet scientists of all fields, linguists, drivers, maintenance workers and others (as well as some doomed wildlife), each with strange yet poignant observations. Herzog's own voice-over provides a melancholy, strangely downbeat commentary, but the film refuses to be boring.
At times both awe-inspiring and absurd, the visuals and sounds are wonderfully put together. Ominous Germanic choral…
Masterful narration and direction. Beautiful images and haunting words. Truth in all its beauty. Take a bow, Werner Herzog.
I did not expect a movie about Antarctica to be a profound exploration of the human condition and purpose...but here we are.
This is my first Werner Herzog film, since I figured it would be a safe place to start. How Herzog focuses his attention is absolutely fascinating, exploring the existence of humans in a place barren of..well..humans.
From the computer expert that stuffs herself in a bag for entertainment to the introverted penguin expert, each portrait is a fascinating exploration of humans. It also provides Herzog the opportunity to narrate about his own philosophy, which is now one of my favorite things.
- Probably one of the most beautiful scores I have ever heard. The operatic men's choir backing the penguin scene is devastating.
-Those underwater shots are incredible.
- The shot of the scientists watching footage from Them! was one of my favorite shots in the movie, and it (ostensibly) had nothing to do with Antarctica.
Shockingly eerie, but not a horror by any means.
Werner Herzog traveling to Antarctica and asking a marine ecologist if penguins experience insanity is the most Werner Herzog thing ever.
Apart from that, stunning vistas underpinned by intelligent portraits of the researchers and philosophical ruminations upon man's dwindling time left upon this majestic planet.
I just wish I had a better TV, to really do this film justice.
Werner Herzog's documentary on life in an Antarctican research station is full of beautiful shots of the frozen wasteland, as are most of Herzog's natural documentaries. This one, however, favors interviews with the researchers and scientists, as Herzog asks them about their pasts in an attempt to discover what draws people from all parts of the world to this forgotten frozen dessert.
Herzog goes to the end of the world and finds the end of the human race. That's not terribly surprising, knowing Herzog, but what is surprising, at least for me, is how much I connected to this movie that mostly consists of Herzog asking scientists and mechanics weird questions. Maybe I'm as deranged as he is. Probably not. Maybe I just always wanted to know if a penguin could go insane or why a chimp doesn't ride a goat. Hmm. Too bad I'll never go. I don't much like the cold.
Up front I'll admit that I spent most of this playing Red Dead Redemption at the same time but hearing Herzog's voice while I kill banditos is incredibly soothing and it's beautiful to look at.
Some of the greatest camerawork of all-time, in my opinion.
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.