Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2 days = 1 movie? Wha' happen??? But the movie I did see...

Bugger... Never experienced this before? 3 days in - and the body said NO! In emphatic fashion. Had a raging... headache!!! So, on Sunday, after struggling through the first scheduled movie, I wandered up to Albert Park, to clear my throbbing cranium, to no avail sadly. Got Wendy to pick me up, and toddled off home to relax. Sometimes, things just don't pan out the way you envisaged them prior. Still, the one I skipped (Doco "The Act of Killing"), I will definitely make an effort to catch later in the fest. It will be a memorable viewing, that much I'm sure of.

However, the movie I did see yesterday, Kiwi Anthony Powell's heartfelt paean to the majestic continent that he has called home for over a decade, the utterly enthralling "ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE".

You just know they're not kidding with that statement...

I can quite easily say this much, as of this point in time. Without hesitation, "ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE" is one of finest documentaries I've ever seen. I would wholeheartedly recommend this to all and sundry. It is put together with two key things that elevate any film into another category, Passion & Love. Both of these factors are hugely evident in this stunningly filmed look at how it is to live in of the most unique places on this planet. In fact, I would quite happily venture this thought. It will be, a definitive document of both how and why, people from all over the world choose (of their own volition) to head to Antarctica to live - and to return to - time, and time again.

Powell's love for the continent infects you with relative ease, so much so that by the end of the film, I was seriously starting to wonder to myself... Antarctica... Hmmm... Could I cope with living there? Could I be a masochist and try working through a Winter as well? (Many don't even attempt that! The entire population reduces from 700 to around 50 during the winter months). There's no flights in (or out) whatsoever in that period, due to the obvious reason. There is no sun. At all. No pilot worth his salt would be foolhardy enough to attempt it. And considering the only flight down is courtesy of the US Air Force, then your chances of being rescued in that season (Should a medical emergency arise), will be nigh on impossible.

David Attenborough may have looked at the wildlife there, Werner Herzog may have looked at how 'weird' some people are there, but for my money, Anthony Powell, being a 'native' of the land, 'gets it' like no-one else has. He totally understands the type of personality drawn to this foreboding environment - and what impact it has on them because he speaks the same language. He has pretty much had the same experiences as well.  Actually, you can make a case that 'Antarctican's' (No idea if that's how they describe themselves, but it 'fits' I guess?)  have, through living in this seemingly inhospitable place, developed their own unique 'culture'. Certainly, the idiosyncrasies they all invariably tend to display lends weight to this idea.
Powell conveys that although some of these people could be construed as socially awkward, they all embody the best of humanity for one simple reason. In Antarctica, no-one can hear you scream, whine, moan, sulk, and generally be a miserable bugger, due to the significant fact that you don't have any choice but to get on with all others as best you can. What are you going to do if it all gets too much? Dial a taxi? Bugger off somewhere else? Maybe its a 'category 3' weather event outside - minus 80! 200 kph winds! Er, no. You are going to do all you can to get on as best you can with person who may be 'bugging you' - there is no other feasible option available.

In creating such a fascinating story, Powell hasn't forgotten the key thing people want to see - Antarctica itself. The quite frankly stupendous visuals on-screen are gobsmacking, to say the very least. I've never seen Antarctica look the way it does - before viewing this documentary. Powell is an exceptionally skilled photographer, getting shot after shot of these vast but absolutely majestic landscapes that are a complete joy to see on a cinema screen.

If (and when) it comes back for another run at the cinema, then my friends, you owe it to yourselves to take a chance and view this brilliant movie on a big screen. It demands the biggest canvas possible. Failing that, it should not - under any circumstances, ever be viewed on a TV less than 50 inches in size. It would be a travesty to diminish this masterpiece to anything less than these recommended options!

There is one more screening tomorrow night in Auckland (6.15pm - at The Civic Theatre) I'd be pleasantly surprised if it sold out (It, by all rights should be the sort of movie to sell out, but then, the Civic is a big theatre). If you can, then take my recommendation seriously - and go and see it!

You will not be disappointed!

If you are, I'll slap you one! Until you 'come around'! :)

Jamie's Rating?

J for... Jewel!

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