ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
United States / 2007 / 99'
The South Pole has always fascinated scientists, adventurers and eccentric men, including the most renowned of them all, Ernest Shackleton, who ventured to that far away place a century ago. In Encounters at the End of the World, Herzog travels to the Antarctica, to McMurdo Research Station on the Isle of Ross, the headquarters of the National Science Foundation. From there, he ventured into a science-fiction landscape, from the depths under the ice of Ross Sea, to the slopes of the volcano Erebus. During his journey Herzog experiences many different encounters, some surrealistic, some absurd, others deeply touching. The people who have just arrived at McMurdo station get ready to face the most extreme environment, walking on the ice with a bucket on their head to simulate blindness in case of a snow blizzard. A team of diving scientists discover by chance three new species of living creatures in the same day. A Cape Royds expert who studies penguins, describes them as animals often having aberrant and mad behaviour ... Along the journey, Herzog’s unmistakable voice, considers the fundamental topics of his work, such as the mystery and violence of nature. In some moments, he withdraws in silence, leaving us to the fascinating music and images captured at the far end of the Earth.
Werner Herzog was born in Munich, Germany, in 1942. He grew up in a village buried deep in the Bavarian mountains, where there was neither television nor telephone. When only nineteen and still at high school he used to work nightshifts as a solderer in an iron and steel factory in order to earn money to produce his first film, Herakles (1962). Since then he has produced, written and shot more than forty films, published more than a dozen books and directed several films. His vast filmography includes: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser: Every Man for Himself and God Against All (1974), winner of the Jury Great prize in Cannes in 1975, Stroszek (1977), Nosferatu (1978), Woyzeck (1979), God’s Angry Man (1980), Fitzcarraldo (1982), which was awarded for the best film production in Cannes in 1982.