Encounters at the End of the World

2007, Nature  -   13 Comments
Ratings: 8.50/10 from 10 users.

Encounters at the End of the WorldJust about anywhere Werner Herzog goes becomes an interesting place, in part because the director shapes it with his distinctively sardonic eye. In Encounters at the End of the World, the 'Zog heads off to Antarctica, finding there a population of unusual people, hallucinatory underwater life, and penguins.

He doesn't appear on camera, but the unmistakably Teutonic Herzog voice is very much with us all the time, a baleful tour guide for this blank destination. In the human outposts of Antarctica, Herzog finds the kind of people you might expect would gravitate to the edge of existence--the curious, the oddball, the wanderers who've run out of other places to explore.

He finds some deadpan hilarity, especially in filming a communication drill involving people practicing blizzard conditions (they wear buckets over their heads while roped together). The underwater photography (a realm previously explored in Herzog's The Wild Blue Yonder) is by Henry Kaiser, and it meshes perfectly with the director's interest in alien eye-scapes. And when Herzog finally does find penguins, his imagination goes to the idea that some penguins go insane, scurrying off into their own suicidal directions. This isn't as arresting a film as Grizzly Man, but it is an entertaining travelogue spiked with quirky observations. Available only in United States.

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13 Comments / User Reviews

  1. sleepmonster5000

    Loved all the portraits of different people, honestly one of my favorite documentaries ever. If anyone has any recommendations for other ones like this, I'd love it, though I've already seen most of Herzog's documentaries.

  2. El Rey

    At times hilarious. He starts by asking if humans ride horses and ants can farm, why haven't apes taken to riding goats... into the sunset.
    He pays out on McMurdo frequently, and cuts off the long-winded ramblings of various inhabitants with voice over like '...her story goes on forever.'

  3. lex lexich

    a must see

  4. Dukilein

    Very good. I think you are capable of seeing this. Sombody here in a docu about the universe gave a hint and said Nassim Haramein is sombody to listen to. Well i watched on youtube nearly 4 hours of his explanation and i really think you MUST SEE IT! No joke. I am from austria and i wish you a nice day. Put Nassim Haramein in youtube and click on the 4 hour 7 minutes video. It is absolutly necessary i mean to see this. When you saw it tell me your thoughts. :) I would like to hear sombodys opinion on that. Well, now have a nice day ;)

    1. Ramona Erdman

      I enjoy Nassim Haramein and people who think and not just follow along with the popular and a lot of times wrong ideals.

  5. audiophile75

    WOW!! truely an awesome and thought-provoking documentary. All you haters and imbecils complaining about such ridiculus things as the accent of the narrator really show your ignorance and end up losing the chance to really learn the interesting aspects of human existance and experience that Herzog queries. This should be an example for life, all of the meaning, learning, humor, awe, knowledge that go unnoticed because your narrow mind is too focused on the nitpicky things. Ya, not everybody is American (thank god) you should be happy that somebody made the effort to make an interesting film in a foreign language just so you can try to learn from it.
    Anyhow, about the film.... GREAT! I think that this is the first Herzog film that I've seen but his sense of wit, humor and perspective left my mind constantly piqued through the range of emotions. Case in point, when he was talking about insanity in the penguins and shows that lone penguin determinedly waddeling alone towards the interrior of the iceberg (and death), who turnes and gives a last glance back at his origin and then turns back and continues on his way seemingly more determined. I felt such a complex range of emotions of lonliness, wistfulness, comiserated ire at social living and the final frustrated distain leading one to throw ones hands (wings) up and go it alone. The icing that made this sad soufle palatable was the overwhelming humor of the situation brought by Herzog's comentary, perfectly captured videography, and so readily anthropomorphized situation of this poor penguine.
    The focus on the peoples lives, stories and quirky personality traits made me again appreciate those who live on the fringe, the ones strong enough to leave comfort and familiarity behind and seek new adventures, as being so much more interesting than the homogenous masses that live in the middle.
    I give it ****

  6. Ella Silver

    I'm hoping to put together a kayak trip here in the next few years. It's nice to get some idea of what i'm going to face when i get there.

  7. doc-fan

    he sounds more like that janitor from Springfield elementary school haha

    1. Ella Silver

      except that that janitor (willie i assume you mean) had a scottish accent. And a completely different voice. And manner of speaking. But.. they ARE both males so...

      You're american, aren't you?

  8. MD

    Not big on arnold swartzeneggers narration LOL! And ths was pretty boring. GET TO THE CHOPPA

  9. grace

    loved it

  10. mazzy

    I'm usually not an 'Adventure' type, but I really loved this one.

  11. Tyler