Saturday, October 20, 2012

Encounters at the end of the world

Poetic at its best.

Werner Herzog, one of the most celebrated German filmmakers, ventures  into an alarmingly beautiful, at the same time dreary locations of Antarctica, to capture footages for a film, which came out to be widely known as Encounters at the End of the World (2007). 


The initial minutes give impressions of a film about the effects of climate change and global warming on Antarctica, but it turnouts as Herzog’s pondering into the humankind through Antarctic life. He interviews scientists, researchers and other masters of their disciplines [like computer science and linguistics] flocked into Antarctica, about their job and journey. He successfully gathers their views about human psyche and never ending exploration through his clever questions. 

Quirky narration, amusing interviews and the anecdotes of each characters he meets turn this seemingly an environmental film into a more philosophical account of the world’s reality.

Antarctica, especially for Herzog, is a place where all the vertical and horizontal lines converge. It is an allegory to the fact of human extinction as the icebergs are melting and moving down, to the complete displeasure of scientists and climate champions. He asserts  his point by showing a penguin heading towards mountains that is certainly leading  it to death. By this he claims the end of human race as they are always tending to depart from the laws of nature.

Herzog attempts to manifest an unceasing quest of human race. Beautiful underwater imageries prove how humans try to conquest all the intelligence related to wonders and insanity of nature surpassing bizarre behaviors of creatures they meet on the way. Peter Zeitlinger’s stunning photography added with stirring soundtracks, chants and sound pieces keep the feeling alive and provoking. 

The film is a satire to human race that resides in the upper part of earth with their thoughts and ego fueled by ‘stupid academia’ as Herzog refers to. It is also an subtle outlook on the effects of global warming. 

Keeping aside few superficial judgements about the climate change and global warming, the film opts one to be manipulated. It makes one ponder into what human race is all about.