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"Antarctica: A Year on Ice": Unimaginable Views from the Bottom 

Tuesday, Nov 25 2014
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The imagery in Anthony Powell's documentary Antarctica: A Year on Ice is so stunning, it could function as a wordless, Qatsi-esque sensory experience. But Powell's film is as much about the people who live and work at Antarctica's McMurdo Station as it is about the beauties and terrors of their environment, and is all the stronger for it. Culled from 15 years of footage, the film re-creates the experience of a full year, including summer's four months of constant daylight, as well as winter's far trickier four months of unending night. We get to know the handful of people who are effectively stranded at the station during the winter, with little to do while waiting for Celestia to raise the sun again other than going about their jobs and trying not to crack up. (Some are better at it than others.) But if they can step outside when there isn't the equivalent of a Category Three hurricane blowing, they can witness the full splendor of the Milky Way and/or the Aurora Borealis, or the less famous but equally astonishing nacreous clouds toward the end of the season. Most of us will never make it to the bottom of our planet, so Antarctica: A Year on Ice is as close as we'll get, and it's worth the trip.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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