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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.

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

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

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Cast

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

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 July 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rencontres au bout du monde See more »

Filming Locations:

McMurdo Station, Antarctica See more »

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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:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

William Jirsa: So just imagine 90% of languages will be extinct probably in my lifetime. It's a catastrophic impact to an ecosystem to talk about that kind of extinction. Culturally we're talking about the same thing, I mean, you know, what if you lost all of Russian literature, or something like that. If you took all of the Slavic languages and they just went away. No more Tolstoy.
See more »

Connections

Features The Lone Ranger (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Planino Stara Planino Mari
Written by Stefan Dragostinov
Performed by The Philip Koutev National Folk Ensemble
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not your average science documentary
31 July 2008 | by LaFeeChartreuseSee all my reviews

Encounters at the End of the World is a quirky and interesting film, definitely a departure from your average dry science documentary or eye-candy nature film, though it has elements of both.

It focuses predominantly on the odd collection of people drawn to live in an Antarctic research station, and to a slightly lesser degree on the oddness of the region itself, and the bizarre bits of scientific trivia that can be found there. Then there the bonus meanderings about the ultimate doom of humanity and whether we originally emerged from the sea onto land to escape the "horror" of marine ecosystems.

Many of its parts are fascinating, but for me, it didn't quite come together as a whole. It drifted in a lot of different directions, but seemed overall to be lacking in focus a bit. There were also a couple of elements that disturbed me a little - one was the inconsistency of talking about how humanity is destroying itself one moment, and then bashing "tree huggers and whale huggers" the next. I guess it's OK to notice that we're damaging the world, but not to try and do something about it? The other was that in some cases he seemed to be going out of his way to depict the people he interviewed in embarrassing ways, with things like leaving the camera lingering on them after the interview appeared to be finished, as they stood nervously, apparently trying to figure out if it was over or not.

But on the whole I would recommend it -- the flaws are offset by some impressive visuals (especially the underwater footage), dry humour, interesting ideas to ponder, and a really great soundtrack by Henry Kaiser and David Lindley, which work very well with the oddness of the content.


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