Encounters at the End of the World (U)
Werner Herzog and his cameraman were invited to visit the McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica, even though he “would not be making another film about penguins”. The first shock is the appearance of the station itself which is home to hundreds of people. Herzog’s narrative style is casual, engaging, as he meets an extraordinary collection of people who describe their lives and work and how they came to “the end of the world”. He visits volcanoes, seals and, yes, penguins, and the underwater scenes are quite stunning. We are drawn to the haunting beauty above and below the ice and the sheer weirdness of what (and who) we encounter with him. Gradually we understand that the title of the film has two meanings: we are here at the geographical end of the world but it is no longer human-free: we take with us wherever we go the seeds of our future destruction – the end of our world.
Werner Herzog, now in his 60s, has had the most extraordinarily creative and idiosyncratic career. He has made over 40 films, roughly half of them documentaries, his last was the award-winning Grizzly Man. He has also written a dozen books and directed several operas. He was born and grew up in a remote Bavarian village without access to television, telephones or films. He started exploring his world on foot at 14, made his first telephone call at 17 and his first film at 19. His long partnership with the actor Klaus Kinski produced films such as Fitzcarraldo. His view of the world is entirely idiosyncratic and never predictable or obvious.
Werner Herzog | USA | 2007 | 99 minutes | cert
Weighted vote 87.8%