Saturday, June 28, 2008

Encounters at the End of the World: A terrible beauty

What does Werner Herzog have against nature? Has he never read Wordsworth? Does he not believe in living in harmony with Mother Earth?

The 65-year-old German director, best known for Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Nosferatu, expressed his attitude toward nature in his previous documentary, Grizzly Man, about a young American named Timothy Treadwell who believed that the grizzly bears of Alaska were his "friends." One of those bears tore the life out of him.

In his latest documentary, Encounters at the End of the World, Herzog – who warns the viewer at the outset not to expect any "fluffy penguins" – deals with the men and women who perform scientific research in Antarctica.

They are "dreamers" like Treadwell, but unlike Treadwell their dreams are informed by reality.

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