Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

Written & Directed by Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog is an interesting filmmaker to me. I had only seen Rescue Dawn, a film I enjoyed, but what is evident after seeing this film is that Herzog has passions and as a filmmaker he is able to exercise those passions and make the films he wants to make, about the things that interest him, like Antarctica. And even when he makes a film about Antarctica, he has to make it his way, which is something I admire. The problem with this is that I may not always be interested in the film he wants to make. I do love nature and I do love people, and those are the two things he focuses most on here.

As part of the Docember I decided to watch this film and it just so happens to qualify for my Director marathon too, much like when I watched A Matter of Life and Death. This is a film that doesn’t really have a direction to it, other than in the mid of Werner Herzog. He explores three of four different things he is curious about in the Antarctic. In that regard the film does not have a set structure. What I did like about it was the fact that I am interested in many of the same things Herzog is in regard to nature, people, and the Antarctic, so I was never really bored by what was being covered.

My thing with documentaries has always been that most of the time I am unable to judge the filmmaking because of the genre. I often determine whether I like it or not based on the subject matter. There are some obvious exceptions where the filmmaking makes the story interesting and the film great, but this is not one of them. I enjoyed it because of the subject matter, but to be able to judge Herzog as a crafter of the film, I cannot say. I look forward to watching his fiction films, and still Grizzly Man. I feel I should be able to judge my like of him as a director, as opposed simply to filmmaker, when I see more of his films.

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