01 April 2009


Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole is probably one of the more bad-ass events of human history, and is absolutely fascinating. So I was stoked to see this documentary, made at the time by a cameraman who was on the ship. And I was not disappointed, though it wasn't at all the movie I was expecting. Filmed in 1919, it's a silent movie - be forewarned - and while it does feature a lot of fantastic visuals from the expedition, it also features an astonishing amount of a very different sort of footage, namely, long segments with ADORABLE ANIMALS. Oh man, it is fabulous. 

The film is remarkably blase about the trip itself, with a cue card blithely stating that they were then trapped in the ice for 9 months, and briskly proceeding on to describe the various cute faces that the dogs made. Which is simultaneously surreal and delightful. Though it occurs to one that in 1919, images of penguins were probably as remarkable as those of the ship, and of equal interest? But while the scenes of seals scratching themselves are riveting, the shots of the ship trapped in ice really are incredible. And what you do see of the crew is kind of marvelous, though it has that eerie sped up quality of silent films. 

So ultimately, I didn't learn much about the expedition (I plan to rent the more recent take on it, Endurance, soon - I wonder if/how it'll incorporate the original footage), I did enjoy the film tremendously. Definitely worth checking out. 

1 comment:

gemma said...

We just watched Shackleton with Kenneth Branagh It was good, but I'd love to see some of the original footage.