Friday, November 28, 2014

Movie with Abe: Antarctica: A Year on Ice

Antarctica: A Year on Ice
Directed by Anthony Powell
Released November 28, 2014

There’s no place quite like Antarctica. It’s easy to understand just how different the coldest place on Earth is from the rest of the world, but not entirely possible to grasp its beauty and the feel of being there. That’s why director Anthony Powell set out to capture what it’s like to spend the full year in Antarctica, setting up time-lapse cameras and interviewing those who spent the dark winter there over the course of ten years. The result is a visually stunning and very enlightening look at how things operate on a continent unlike any other.

“Antarctica: A Year on Ice” begins with dazzling shots of its subject matter, as Powell recounts his creation of a number of cameras that could withstand the weather – and some that couldn’t – in his effort to film the experience of living and working up north. The film as a whole mixes shots of the sky with beautiful colors and the snowy landscape with conversations with those living there who try to get at just how indescribable spending so many months away from civilization with a small group of people is.

Much of this film’s impact is rooted in the stark reality of some of the revelations it makes. A few are common knowledge but are still hard to believe, particularly the fact that the sun doesn’t set for months and then doesn’t come up for months, which leads to sunny strolls at midnight and a permanent sense of darkness that creates an incomparable calm. Residents describe their feelings upon first arriving in Antarctica and then the way in which short-term memory begins to fade after spending weeks isolated in the same routine. It’s all fascinating, and it’s great to see the spirit of energy and cooperation that defines this unique experience.

This documentary isn’t trying to prove everything, not arguing that climate change is real or demonstrating something else of vital importance to the world. Instead, it’s an entertaining, endearing portrait of a singular place, with enthusiastic emphasis on how great it is for so many countries to coexist in one particular space. Loud musical interludes are frequent, but they’re all in support of the awe-inspiring visuals on screen and the cool, exciting nature of this one-of-a-kind subject matter. It’s hard not to be captivated and made even more curious by this enjoyable and educational documentary.


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