Review: Antarctica: A Year On Ice

Cold comfort

ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE (Anthony Powell). 91 minutes. Opens Friday (December 12). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN

The penguins show up about 11 minutes into Antarctica: A Year On Ice, but none of them are suicidal. This is a sign that Anthony Powell‘s personal documentary about life on the polar continent will be different from Werner Herzog’s 2007 doc Encounters At The End Of The World.

Herzog visited the Antarctic and found both desolation and transcendence Powell, a New Zealand amateur filmmaker who’s spent nine tours working at research bases there, delivers a charming personal documentary about what daily life is actually like.

Time-lapse cameras give a sense of the grandeur and hostility of the Antarctic landscape amazing camcorder footage shows a Condition 1 storm that makes going outside a terrifying proposition.

The compression is a little stifling, since Powell only allows himself a few minutes for any one aspect or anecdote. I would have loved to know more about Polar T3 Syndrome, a cognitive disorder brought on by four months of winter darkness that’s mentioned and abandoned before it can be explained.

But then we might not have had time to see clips from results of the 48-hour film festival Powell once arranged among the bases, which are demented and delightful.

And more penguins, of course.

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