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On DVD: "Encounters at the End of the World," "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold"

25 November 2008 4:04 AM, PST | | See recent IFC news »

By Michael Atkinson

It was only a matter of time, after Werner Herzog used the under-the-ice Antarctic footage shot by scientists for his hodgepodge sci-fi meditation "The Wild Blue Yonder," until this most peripatetic of world-class filmmakers realized that the Poles may be the only patches of Earth he hasn't yet roamed through with his camera. Herzog's documentaries, from "Land of Silence and Darkness" (1971) to "Grizzly Man" (2005), are all subjective and full-disclosure, all the time; there is a reality in these films, but it is Herzog's, and that's why we're here. "Encounters at the End of the World" (2007) is perhaps more personal than most -- he does not propose any motive for his trip to Antarctica other than his own curiosity, and eventually becomes, by nature, impatient with the large science base he finds there, saying outright that he wants only to get out into the field and find something wondrous that isn't man-made. »

- Michael Atkinson

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