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 Encounters at the End of the World 

What grade would you give this film?
A 50%  50%  [ 4 ]
B 50%  50%  [ 4 ]
C 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
D 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
F 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 8

 Encounters at the End of the World 
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Post Encounters at the End of the World
Encounters at the End of the World


Encounters at the End of the World is a documentary film by Werner Herzog completed in 2007. The film studies people and places in Antarctica. The film was released in North America on June 11, 2008, and distributed by THINKFilm.


Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:48 am
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
Here's a copy of my review from the thread in the Foreign & Independent Film forum:

Bradley Witherberry wrote:
Encounters at the End of the World: Herzogasmic!!!

Thru his idiosyncratic lens, Herzog captures the universal.

I have never seen a more true depiction of Antarctica than is presented here. Not only that, it goes beyond the nuts and bolts of everyday life, to the nuts and dolts who inhabit the seventh continent. The scientific philosophical dreams shared by the participants in Herzog's un-fevered non-nightmare glimpse into the human era on our earthen sphere are bona fide gems. This is Antarctica for those bewitched by marching penguins, beguiled by historic legends, bewildered by the below ice desert wilderness, bothered by the lack of a clear view of our own home, bejesus!

After his last two outstanding films (not to mention his bizarro career filmography), I didn't think I would be taken by surprise yet again by the master, yet surprised I remain. This is the work of a genius.

49.7 out of 5.

Sat Aug 02, 2008 1:46 pm
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
I dunno... Herzog's seems to have the right idea at the beginning of the film, saying he's going to Antarctica for the reasons of human nature and studying why these people chose this, but I can't help but feel he doesn't really succeed or come up with much in that respect. Instead the film spends an equal amount of time discussing scientific and historical facts about the place, and slipping into full on nature film style with the extended takes of the water, the cave, penguin. Ironically enough considering his opening statements, those takes, and in particular the penguin bit, ends up being the most worthwhile and well done sections of the film... but I can't help but feel he could've created something truly great by concentrating more on the human side of things. As it is I found a number of the interviews slightly dull, but then again I'm not a science guy, hearing about the particulars of these studies just doesn't do it for me.

It's not bad by means, but after Grizzly Man, which might very well be one of my favorite films of this decade, I'm quite disappointed.


Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:47 am
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
A great film not without its faults but great anyway. Reminds me how Werner's strength in documentary making are also his main weaknesses. Unlike myself in the post above, i personally like how his docs almost exclusively feel like Werner himself must have experienced the entire trip to antarctica the same way we did ... going with the flow and wondering what will come next. he does not look like hes controlling where the story is going .. hes along for the ride and a helpless observer himself .. hence the lack of a very centralized focus. the man's just trying to show the life in antarctica and the people who are there and why they are there. beyond that, there is no agenda.

he has a habit of also providing commentary half the time and then total silence, letting the audience just look and write a story by themselves .... werner interviews people and then leaves the camera rolling, another transition from where acting ends and an uncomfortableness of trying to work and still being on camera takes place.

Its great .. his entire approach though like i said, its also his weakness. hes still learning the perfect recipe for such a manner of film making, keeping the video running too long ... or spending too much time with no commentary on scenaries .. making the film feel longer than it 'should'.

still .. beautiful film .... not in the league of Man of Wire but another very solid entry.

Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:43 am
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
I thought I would have loved this as much as I loved it. Hmm, I need to now see Surfwise and see if I love it too.

Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:47 am
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World

My favorite moment in a pretty amazing film. I want it to digest a little longer, but it somehow almost matched Grizzly Man, something I did not expect going in.

Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:56 pm
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
Jon wrote:


oh my.

Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:13 pm
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
I dont understand why he dedicated this film to Roger Ebert. wtf.

Luckily it's pretty great though.

Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:31 pm
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
7/10 -> B-

More appropriately titled Whackos at the End of the World, Encounters is a very interesting documentary that's mostly succesfully toying with various stories such as people living in the Antarctic, their life stories, scientific researches, animal life/life forms, etc... While most of the time the movie has its groove (even the uncomfortable moments like pauses didn't feel out of place), with everything the movie tries to digest it loses an already loose focus at times and kinda falls apart at places. Luckily it manages to pick up and go on like nothing happened. The music montages were a good way out most of the times.

I loved Werner's occasional "global" comments. Even if I don't agree with all of them, at least they provide a very interesting viewpoint.

And the disoriented penguin. OMFG I felt sooooo sad watching him. Poor little fellow. Possibly the most gutwrenching moment of the year.

Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:22 pm
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
All movies should have Werner Herzog narration.


Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:24 pm
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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
I guess I'm just not that big a fan of Herzog, or of his documentaries specifically.

I dunno, there's a lot of stuff to like here (particularly near the end, where the film manages to find its footing and express its ideas most clearly), but it never seems to form a cohesive whole. As with Grizzly Man, I found that Herzog spent too much time simply documenting the events, instead of putting his own spin on them with that brilliant narration of his. As such, there's too much of the silent underwater videos that serve little thematic purpose and not enough of Herzog himself.

So, as noted, the film comes together best near the end, with the insane penguin bit followed by the volcano story and Herzog's thoughtful reflection on the impending doom facing the human race. It's here where the film hits its stride, and finishes rather strongly, whereas the bulk of the early stuff was (to me) largely extraneous and unneeded.

I still enjoyed it, it just never felt like a whole film, merely parts of one. It really is clear that Herzog didn't know what film he wanted to make - and that hurts it.

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Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:56 am

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Post Re: Encounters at the End of the World
trixster wrote:
I found that Herzog spent too much time simply documenting the events, instead of putting his own spin on them...

Heh. Between Herzog and Michael Moore - - documentary filmmakers can't seem to catch a break these days... :unsure:

Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:01 am
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