Encounters at the End of the World

Posted by Scott

I’ve been wanting to see Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World for some time and finally got a chance to see it tonight. After seeing Fitzcarraldo and The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans (which is so incredibly bad that it’s certainly some sort of elaborate joke he’s playing) in rapid succession, I was excited to check out his take on the Documentary format. Based on the trailer I was somewhat looking forward to the imagery in Encounters — I was expecting the majority of the film to be shot underwater like Wild Blue Yonder but was pleasantly surprised to find it was more about what was going on up top. The people, landscapes, buildings, and machines around McMurdo Station make for some beautiful shots. As Herzog narrates in the film “..on this planet, McMurdo comes closest to what a future space settlement would look like.” We even get treated to some vintage celluloid from a 1970’s-era expedition. Definitely a must-see.

More stills after the break.

Source Encounters at the End of the World

17 Comments Leave A Comment


Cornelius says:

October 19, 2010 at 4:47 am

I love how Herzog is a master of injecting a very subtle humour into his docus, almost making them a slight parody on occasion. This and Grizzly Man have to be two of the most entertaining and beautiful documentaries I own. If you haven’t seen Grizzly Man, make that next on your list!


Stef Pause says:

October 19, 2010 at 6:07 am

Herzog! I love him so much. As far as his documentaries go, My Best Fiend is particularly special: it covers his tumultuous relationship with Klaus Kinski over their years of working together. I’d recommend that you watch it after you’ve seen his film Aguirre, the Wrath of God – which you simply must watch as it’s an absolute masterpiece (it’s one of Roger Ebert’s top ten) – as this’ll provide important context. Not that I’m trying to usurp Cornelius’s recommendation above, Grizzly Man is also truly remarkable and should definitely be added to your list.


Danny says:

October 19, 2010 at 7:21 am

If you really want to see what Herzog can do, check it Fata Morgana. He sets out to film mirages in the desert, but sets up an apocalyptic story in the process. It’s probably my favorite of his documentary work. There is also Lessons of Darkness which is shot in the oil fields of Kuwait. He filmed this one as if he was an alien from space coming to earth to shoot a science fiction film. Quite intruiging the stuff you can make happen with a camera and a little dialog.


anon says:

October 19, 2010 at 8:38 am

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans (which is so incredibly bad that it’s certainly some sort of elaborate joke he’s playing)

Are you serious??? I thought this movie was incredible. It’s certain that there was a degree of tongue-in-cheek humor to the film, but only to the degree that it was making fun of over-the-top, Hollywood cop/action garbage. It was a black comedy for sure, but there is no way that it was a joke… This was also a high point for Nicholas Cage, brought out by Herzog’s radical, no-storyboard, improvisational style…

…plus it was way better than Abel Ferrara’s original.


Nthn says:

October 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm

This is a wonderful documentary. I love how it explores the reasons people choose the bottom of the world and a living place. The man who is a descendant of Mayan royalty is amazing. Good find.


Scott says:

October 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm

yeah, I think this was the first time I really got his sense of humor, he went from taking subtle jabs at some of his subjects all the way to outright mockery. the handling of the pogo stick guy was the best.

I think I have to watch it again after having seen this, maybe I’ll get it this time. But yeah, at times the acting was so laughably bad it was hard to get through it. You’re right, it was basically like he was mocking bad cop movies, I guess he did too good a job at times.


daniel says:

October 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm

@ Crispy, it’s so funny you said that. The first thing I did when I saw this was sample those seal sounds. They sound like early analog synths. Unreal. I built a whole song around a beat built out of those sounds. So good!


Jeff Finley says:

October 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Nice to see some Herzog fans here. He’s been one of my favorite inspirations in life.

I personally like Stroszek, Little Deiter Needs to Fly, Aguirre, Nosferatu, and of course Grizzly Man which my wife also loves. Also, the White Diamond is one of his best documentaries.

I wasn’t a fan of his Bad Lieutenant. As a Herzog fan for many years, it just didn’t feel like him anymore.

Also, his collaboration with David Lynch called My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done was underwhelming too. I was expecting better from a Lynch/Herzog collab.


guy mann dude says:

October 20, 2010 at 6:57 am

well since we all seem to have herzog in our personal pantheon’s, i would like to take this opp to put you on to another film/maker called “picture of light” by peter mettler. it is incredible.


milkwood says:

October 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Inspired site. Longtime listener, first time caller…

A Marin Connection: Little Deiter’s house (complete with emergency supplies) is directly across from Mt. Home Inn on Panoramic Highway. Kinski lived-out his reclusive life atop Barnaby Peak (Samuel P. Taylor St. Park) near Fairfax. Awesome hike to the top – has cult pilgrimage site written all over it…


Mkhan says:

November 15, 2010 at 8:10 pm

The world will not end because of earthquakes, tsunami, meteor strike, nuclear war, supernova, or any other natural or man made disaster. End will not happen on any arbitrary date like December 2012. The end of the universe has been designed into the laws of the universe by the creator. The contraction of the universe will commence the beginning of the end which will last for thousands and possibly millions of years. We will however be gone far before that time removed from the dying universe. To find out how all that will happen go to the nest page.


Bill says:

January 4, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Scott- Thanks for the movie suggestion. I watched it tonight with the Wife and Kid.

Years back I worked on a boat in Prince William Sound as a deckhand. This movie reminded me of the remarkable characters I met. And the incredible sights.