Der Kongreß der Pinguine (1993)

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The Congress of Penguins  »

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An impressive essay about nature and mankind
13 November 2005 | by (Stuttgart, Germany) – See all my reviews

This is definitely one of the most remarkable swiss movies of the recent years. Part documentary, part philosophical and part pure art it is difficult to classify this movie, the best description might be "An essay about nature and mankind". It is a very unusual movie, after all.

The plot (if this actually can be called a plot) is about someone visiting Antarctica finding an assembly of penguins relating a message and a mission to him and mankind as a whole. However this message is not an explicit or clear one and leaves room for interpretations. It's rather a call for thinking about the relation of mankind and nature. The movie then travels around to find answers to this. We visit e.g. South Georgia. In the 1920s this island was an important place for the booming whaling-business. Today there is nothing left but a bizarre pile of debris and rubble. The contrast to the wonderful natural landscape is stunning. While the camera moves through this doomsday-scenery we hear an optimistic voice from the off praising the many uses of the whaling-industry. The conclusions are left to the viewer and are obvious...

The pictures are very impressive, unusual and suitable to remain in memory forever, esp. when the camera seems to float through the deserted scrap of this abandoned whaling-station on South Georgia.

The score is just excellent and can be regarded as a vital component of the movie. Esp. when we visit the misty island of South Georgia with its debris we hear that dark and mysterious " The Isle of the dead" by Sergej Rachmaninov (Op. #29) which by itself is based on that famous painting by Arnold Boecklin with the same title. This fusion of an excellent score and not less excellent images remembers to Koyaanisqatsi (1982).

Technically the movie is virtually flawless, a swiss product without doubt :-).

Definitely recommended for everyone who likes movies abroad from the mainstream with a message and a demand for using the brain. Not recommended for people who are watching movies for entertainment only.

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