A transformative powerhouse of a documentary; the hidden gem of the Sydney Film Festival.
Following 2009's short film Salt, in which filmmaker Michael Angus captured landscape photographer Murray Fredericks' harrowing journey to Lake Eyre, the pair have gone bigger and better for their latest collaboration Nothing On Earth, set to debut at this year's Sydney Film Festival.
Not content with merely travelling within his own backyard, Fredericks has set his sights on the Greenland ice caps, giving himself the challenge of capturing resonance in a place devoid of any natural or manmade definition. After a series of failed trips, he enlists the help of an experienced guide and two Inuit dogsledders to brave the wild elements and unforgiving terrain.
The film is beautifully shot, making superb use of expansive shots and time lapse cinematography to accentuate the ironic beauty Fredericks is faced with. Another nice touch is the inclusion of each photo Fredericks takes, giving the viewer a strangely poignant look into the mind of an artist; one devoid of pretension or showmanship, but instead brimming with creativity, inspiration and self-criticism.
Fredericks' boundless energy and commitment when exercising his passion remains at the forefront, even when things look most bleak, but it is his interaction with the people around him- complete strangers determined to help him meet his goal- that gives the film warmth. The highlight is without doubt the group's discovery of a long-abandoned Cold War relic: a monolithic live-in structure designed to thwart foreign assaults. Following the war, the building was swiftly abandoned, and within it lay thousands of remnants of a time long gone.
It is this surreal trip through the structure that neatly ties together the film's underlying theme of bonded humanity, cleverly disguised as the most intriguing of history lessons.
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