BIFF Review: Encounters at the End of the World

Last night the Boston Independent Film Festival closed with a screening of Werner Herzog’s first documentary since 2005’s 2005 point Grizzly Man, which you seriously owe it to yourself to see.

His latest is Encounters at the End of the World, in which the off-kilter German visits the research station at the South Pole and encounters philosopher fork lift operators, plumbers with royal Aztec lineage, hermetic penguin-ologists, and a team of divers with a penchant for 50’s B-movies about the apocalypse.

I love Werner Herzog, and while I can’t say that Encounters is better than Grizzly Man, it is a worthy follow up that delivers classic Herzogian elements like wry doom-and-gloom voiceovers and observant, nearly-awkward interviews, as well as some pretty amazing nature photography.

Also, providing a fantastic grace note and counterpoint to all the reflection on mankind’s imminent extinction, the film closes with a quote from one of my favorite philosophers, Alan Watts, so major points for that.

Go see this if you get a chance, but before you do go see Grizzly Man. I’ve embedded the trailer below, as well as a clip of Werner getting shot by an air rifle sniper during an interview and not giving a shit. That interview took place, incidentally, just a couple months before Herzog pulled Joaquin Phoenix out of the wreckage of a car accident in LA. You know, in case you weren’t yet convinced that this guy is a badass.


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