Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog – 2008) A

I am going to come out and say it and commit to it: I can never dislike anything Herzog has made or will do in the future. His perspective on everything from nature to war to conquistadores is fascinating. His commentary during his documentaries is haunting. In this gem he asks many questions. Why do ants “farm” herds of lice to harvest the sugar from their asses? Why do we put on masks and feathers? Are there any gay penguins? What is a Neutrino? Why don’t chimps straddle goats and use them for transportation? He gets answers to some of these but not for most. The point of EATEOTW is not to answer these questions (and certainly not to make a doc about “fluffy penguins”) but to learn about the interesting (many holding PhDs) people who decided to move to Antarctica, have them talk about themselves and then let the camera explore the desolate and sometimes breathtakingly beautiful place that is the south pole. Sure we get some talk about melting ice caps and global warming, mostly from the scientists living there, but how could we not. Ultimately what I remember most from this doc is the amazing footage which Herzog mostly highlights with music not words and the individuals. Individuals like the penguin scientist, the glacierologist, the philosopher/driver, the Mayan kings decendent, the volcanologists and the linguist among many others.

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