Using the Public Library, Netflix, Google Play, or YouTube, watch this film about Antarctica:
Encounters at the End of the World
Directed by Werner Herzog (2007) (for additional details see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1093824/ (Links to an external site.) )
- What does Werner Herzog promise not to make a movie about?
- What U.S. agency invited Herzog and his team to Antarctica to produce a film?
- What does the cargo plane land on top of when it reaches McMurdo Station?
- Describe the appearance of McMurdo. What does it remind you of?
- The glaciologist Douglas MacAyeal describes his research on B15 with a flare of poetry. What is remarkable about B15? He provides several interesting facts.
- Is the sea ice surrounding Antarctica a static or highly dynamic feature?
- According to Herzog, what sorts of ‘abominations’ exist at McMurdo?
- In the white-out scenario, the film points out that small mistakes can accumulate and lead to major catastrophes. This is an important life lesson, not only for Antarctic survival, but everywhere on earth. What are some important ‘checks’ that people use in critical situations to avoid a cascading chain of errors? This answer is not necessarily in the film but put some thought into this answer.
- What is unusual about the milk of the Weddell Seal?
- Describe the hands of the machinist in the workshop. What ancestry does he claim?
- What are foraminifera and why are they worthy of study?
- What are your impressions of diving under the sea ice? Would you do it? How does the music selected for these scenes complement the ‘other worldly’ cinema-photography?
13. What are some of the activities that scientists stationed at McMurdo do to amuse themselves?
14- What ‘statistic’ does the linguist/gardener cite for language extinction during his lifetime?
15- Herzog offers commentary on the ‘necessity of adventure’ to the human spirit and then goes on to deride the modern ‘record-setting’ mentality prevalent in first world nations. What do you think about this perspective? Do you share Herzog’s contempt for unusual feats?
16. What is Mt. Erebus and why do you have to keep an eye on the crater while you are working? What type of volcano is Mt. Erebus?
17. What unlikely objects are stashed underneath the magnetic South Pole?
18. Herzog uses human narratives to tell the story of an otherwise vacant continent. Is this an effective way to convey the vast expansive of Antarctica? Do you think the film would have been successful if Herzog had simply made a penguin movie?