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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 dedicated the film to Roger Ebert, who he calls a true "warrior of cinema". Due to the dedication Ebert could not review the film, but he wrote a complimentary letter to Herzog and later published it. 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

Referenced in Into the Inferno (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Il Est Digne en Verite
from Basso Profundo
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User Reviews

 
Best Film of 2008
30 August 2008 | by chris-2512See 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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