Thursday, July 16, 2015

Antarctica: A Year on Ice - 8 stars out of 10

Antarctica: A Year on Ice - 8 stars out of 10

“Antarctica: A Year on Ice” is an informative documentary that explores the unseen mysteries of Antarctica and the people who live there.  Using a series of interviews and stunning time-lapse photography, it follows a year in the life of the small international population that works on Antarctica (less than 700 people in the winter) and shows how they must adapt to the elements.  It is hard to imagine going 4 months without seeing the sun or spending 4 months in constant daylight.  Even more fascinating is the T3 Syndrome that alters brain function as the body assigns the T3 hormone to protecting different muscle groups from the extreme cold.  It’ll also make you sad as these workers encounter distressed wildlife but must let nature take its course.  There are some great shots of penguins but even that part of the story has a sad twist.  The biggest draw of this film is the compilation of time-lapse sequences, some of the most incredible that I have ever seen.  Any one of these sequences could blow your mind and it is overwhelming to watch one after the other.  I was particularly moved by the shot that follows the sun’s rotation for an entire day as it never dips below the horizon and the movement of snow moving in the wind.  I love the format of this film, starting at the beginning of summer with a large group of workers, showing their departure for 6 months while a few remain to endure the isolation of winter, and concluding as the summer crew arrives again.  It makes it feel more like a story than an informational video and helps to give direction and meaning to the incredible visuals.  “Antarctica: A Year on Ice” will open your eyes to the sacrifices made by the people who endure -120 degree temperatures with winds the speed of a Category 5 storm… and likely take away your desire to ever visit.

[Pictured: Can't complain about 90 minutes of this!]

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