7.8/10
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Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

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Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Scott Rowland ...
Himself - Transportation Dept.
Stefan Pashov ...
Doug MacAyeal ...
Himself - Glaciologist (as Douglas MacAyeal)
Ryan Andrew Evans ...
Himself - Filmmaker, Cook (as Ryan A. Evans)
Kevin Emery ...
Himself - Survival School Instructor
Olav T. Oftedal ...
Himself - Nutritional Ecologist
Regina Eisert ...
Herself - Physiologist
David R. Pacheco Jr. ...
Himself - Journeyman Plumber
Samuel S. Bowser ...
Jan Pawlowski ...
Himself - Zoologist
William Jirsa ...
Karen Joyce ...
Herself - Traveler, Computer Expert
Libor Zicha ...
Himself - Utility Mechanic
Ashrita Furman ...
Himself - Multiple World Record Holder
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Storyline

'Werner Herzog' takes his camera to Antarctica where we meet the odd men and women who have dedicated their lives to furthering the cause of science in treacherous conditions. A scientist studies neutrinos, which are everywhere, yet elusive; he likens them to spirits. A researcher's nighttime performance art includes contorting her body into a luggage bag. A survival guide teaches his students to survive white-out conditions by wearing cartoon-face buckets over their heads. Animal researchers milk mother seals as part of their study. Volcanologists offer advice on what to do when a volcano erupts. A pipefitter shows us the anomaly in his hands that he says are a sign he descended from Atzec royalty. A former Colorado banker drives what he has christened Ivan the Terra Bus. An underwater diver shows his colleagues DVDs of apocalyptic sci-fi films like Them! (1954). And -- though Herzog declares he's not "making another film about penguins" -- we meet a penguin researcher who answers ... Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

18 July 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rencontres au bout du monde  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,730, 15 June 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$943,934, 2 November 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Werner Herzog has disclosed that the scene of scientists putting their ears to the ice to listen to seal calls was entirely staged. Herzog asked them to position themselves according to his directions, and the sounds were previously recorded through underwater microphones by sound artist Douglas Quin. See more »

Quotes

Doug MacAyeal: Might as well be on a piece of the South Pole but yet I'm actually adrift in the ocean, a vagabond floating in the ocean, and below my feet I can feel the rumble of the iceberg, I can feel the change, the cry of the iceberg, as it's screeching and as it's bouncing off the seabed, as it's steering the ocean currents, as it's beginning to move north. I can feel that sound coming up through the bottoms in the my feet and telling me that this iceberg is coming north. That's my dream.
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Connections

Featured in Life Itself (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Planino Stara Planino Mari
Written by Stefan Dragostinov
Performed by The Philip Koutev National Folk Ensemble
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User Reviews

 
Best Film of 2008
30 August 2008 | by See all my reviews

'Encounters at the End of the World' is an engrossing, fascinating exploration of what it takes to exist in one of the world's most unforgiving landscapes.

Almost a companion piece to Herzog's earlier poem-like Fata Morgana, the film brings us into a world hidden to almost all but a very chosen few.

There are incredible exchanges between Herzog and his human subjects, who are all researchers studying various aspects of the Antarctic eco-sphere. One such exchange with a cell biologist involves the idea that humans evolved from the ocean to escape what the scientist terms the 'absolute horror' of existence among the extremely vicious, often microscopic 'monsters' that savagely fight for their existence in the frozen waters. Some of these creatures are shown in remarkable underwater photography and it's not hard to see what he means.

Another interview that I found both terrifying and fascinating was one with a journeyman plumber (who also is allegedly related to the Ancient Aztec royalty) about the effects of global warming. I didn't like 'An Inconvenient Truth' and have always been somewhat on the fence about global warming. But the way this man describes global warming set the hairs on my arms on end. The subject is returned to later in the film with several scientists advocating an even bleaker outlook on the topic. Their consensus is that we have already tipped the point of no return and that our existence as humans is already marked for extinction.

As one glacierologist, pointing at a radar screen showing formations of large glaciers puts it: "I don't want to know what happens when that melts." By the way, did you know that seal calls are like the sound of Moog synths and earlier Pink Floyd? I haven't even scratched the surface of this film. There are so many breathtaking moments of sheer rugged beauty that it will bring tears to your eyes.

Do not see this movie on video or DVD. Unlike 'Grizzly Man' which was more of a television format film, "Encounters At the End of The World" is deeply, deeply cinematic.

How many Bat-films do you need to see anyway? Do your brain a favor and lose yourself in 'Encounters at the End of The World'.

Best film of '08 hands down.


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