Their Frozen Dream | Chicago Reader

Their Frozen Dream

In The Flight of the Eagle (1982) Swedish director Jan Troell dramatized an 1897 balloon expedition to the North Pole that ended in disaster for three Scandinavian explorers. Fifteen years later, on the hundredth anniversary of the event, he created this hour-long documentary, using diaries, logs, letters, and footage from his earlier film to retell the riveting story of those foolhardy adventurers, who died in the arctic cold months after their balloon crashed and whose remains weren't found until 1930. Like the work of Ken Burns, the film is impeccably paced, and the ghostly images from the explorers' posthumously developed photographs underscore both their resolve and the poignance of their quixotic mission.

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