Encounters at the End of the World

The nominations:

  • Best Documentary Feature

The Black-and-White:

A review by Moviegirl

This is the first documentary that we’ve seen in a long time that actually feels like a documentary. No penguins making friends. No global warming animations. No hidden (or not so hidden) political agendas. Just pretty pictures of nature and quirky people being quirky.

Here’s the synopsis from the oscar.com website:

In the extreme conditions that define existence in Antarctica, filmmaker Werner Herzog explores the range of personalities who have been drawn to spend their working lives in one of the world’s harshest environments. From research scientists to blue collar workers, Herzog’s subjects demonstrate a self-reliance and intrepid sense of adventure that both equip them for their frigid surroundings and place them outside the mainstream of society.

Although the oscar.com synopsis focuses most on the human-interest aspect of the film, the most compelling moments for me were the shots of the animals and landscape of the South Pole, in part because it’s not clear that things will look like this forever. In any case, we found it hugely enjoyable and really satisfying as a documentary in its purest form — simply documenting the people, animals, plants, and landscape of a particular place at a particular point in time. It’s well worth the 100 minutes you’ll spend watching it.

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