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Encounters at the End of the World

Encounters at the End of the World

'Beautiful Masons'

You can see wondrous nature photography, interwoven with curious science and raw reality, in any number of wildlife docs. When Herzog casts his eye over Antarctica and its itinerant citizenry, however, you get an even broader gamut of alien odysseys and journeys into 'the heart of men'. Everything from single-celled organisms vying for the title of intelligent life, to eternity-shrouded cathedrals of ice, via hot blooded poetry and science zeitgeist, are explored by this free form expedition.

Magnificence and Mandibles

With only an occasional irritable aside, Werner draws out the passions of the scientists and contractors who've stationed themselves here at the edge of the world. It's another personal journey by the director, with pauses to highlight favoured topics of extinction and apolitical human triumph, but all explored via the tales he gets these peculiar pioneers to share. Decorated by so much 'found material', all contrasting with the backdrop of awe-inspiring scenery and perplexing life amongst adversity, it forms a very satisfying selection of views into hearths and hinterlands you wouldn't otherwise see.

It's somewhat episodic and haphazard, but that's also part of its charm. There's pretty much something for everyone here, amongst the bearded ladies, prostitute penguins, and beautiful sounds sung by seals.