Encounters at the End of the World | Chicago Reader

Encounters at the End of the World

Werner Herzog is a stranger in a strange land as soon as he gets out of bed in the morning: in this travelogue of Antarctica, his perverse curiosity and zest for the harshest extremes of nature transform what might have been a standard TV special into an idiosyncratic expression of wonder. Cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger (Invincible, Grizzly Man, Rescue Dawn) captures images of raw beauty—crystalline snowscapes, black bubbles roiling under sheets of ice. Yet Herzog is just as fascinated by the people who inhabit this polar wilderness, from a forklift driver reared on the Iliad and Odyssey to a scientific researcher hooked on 50s doomsday sci-fi movies to a linguist watching the world's languages dwindle. There are penguins, to be sure, but Herzog is characteristically most interested in the one that inexplicably heads for the mountains, toward certain death. G, 99 min.

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