Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ekspeditionen til verdens ende

It is seldom that films made on a grand scale have such a human touch, such beautiful sense of humour, such core of humility: as the Danish film Ekspeditionen til verdens ende (English title: The Expedition to the End of the World) has. A film in equal measures of science, philosophy and adventure, the film makes do without the common devices of many of National Geographic and Discovery style: no maps and routes litter the video, and wild nature is not the focus. The focus is humanity, its searching questions, its methods of investigation, its pressing concerns, and its ability to take in everything with equanimity.

The scientists, the explorers, the artists: all aboard a ship to an unexplored area, a journey made possible by melting glaciers. The funding foundation does not expect them to document, to produce, to achieve: and here is where the remarkable spirit of the film comes from. Rugged landscapes of desolateness, as if it is the end of the world and it is forbidden to carry on, greet man: and yet, there are possible signs of an earlier man, the Stone Age man, who once abided here, called it home, bred children, and mysteriously left. Life even in this desert is everywhere: and life in its pristine forms, life that holds clues about the nature of life itself. Where did life itself come from, if it did? And how robust is it? The tens of thousands of years man has been living: how long a future is feasible? Can man last long as, say, dinosaurs did? And what will be that man? Which civilisation, how recognizable? Or will they be picking our fossils?

The Expedition to the End of the World is a film that sets you liberated: and that gives a shining meaning of science, often lost in, ironically, the world of modern science.Like religions, like art, science is a beautiful way to inquire, to understand, to know the truth: equations and chants are not much different from each other.

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