Poles Apart

By March 23, 2015 Events

The Arctic and the Antarctic have never looked more magnificent or precarious than in Poles Apart—a season exploring the great frontiers of our planet presented by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in association with Climarte, from Saturday 18 April to Friday 15 May 2015.

The Poles still remain largely undiscovered and their mysterious panoramas, strange species, gigantic icebergs, impenetrable ice-floes and inhospitable conditions all contribute to the intrigue that guides our fascination with these ‘ends of the Earth’. Four films feature as part of the season and ACMI Head of Film Programs, Richard Sowada, believes each will increase our appreciation of the Poles.

“These films penetrate often impenetrable locations through the lens of artists—accidental or otherwise—who have inhabited the breathtaking landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctic,” said Sowada. “Audiences will have unprecedented access to captivating worlds that are alien to most of us.”

Ten years in the making, award-winning Antarctica: A Year on Ice is a stunning blue-chip film documenting life in Antarctica over a 12 month period. Few will ever travel to this massive southern continent, which is twice the size of Australia. Filmmaker Anthony Powell works here, in both summer and winter, when the sun sets for two-months and the already meagre population of 5,000 dwindles to only a handful. These hardy souls endure 200mph gales in bitterly cold darkness punctured only by the luminous Aurora Australis that lights up the sky.

First time feature director Powell turns his camera to the everyday workers—the maintenance and fire crews, the warehouse and shop workers—who keep the community alive. He paints an illuminating and personal picture of Antarctica’s vast wilderness from the perspective of a dedicated few who call it home all year round.

In Expedition to the End of the World an unlikely group of artists and scientists are thrust together on a three-masted schooner to uncover the frozen world of the Arctic. Director Daniel Dencik follows his protagonists into harsh terrain, where a strange convergence of philosophy, perspective, science, technology and adventure merge to create a tremendously warm film. Humorous personal journeys are set against an astonishing Arctic backdrop, which is beautifully photographed and captured with a level of detail that only digital cinema can harness.

Influenced by the colossal power of nature and time that dictates life, audiences gain insight into the group’s deep yet simple philosophies. Part natural history, part adventure, part ethnographic and part drama, the New York Post praised the film for revealing “some of the most stunning landscape cinematography imaginable.”

Between 2003 and 2005, filmmaker David Hinton travelled 2,500 nautical miles on three expeditions across the pristine environment of the High Arctic aboard the schooner Nooderlicht filming artists, scientist and educators as part of the Cape Farewell project. The result was Art from the Changing Arctic—a collection of artists’ responses to their unforgiving environments, as well as their views on the impact of climate change. Some were inspired to make artworks while on the journey, carving optical ice lenses and cameras, making glacial projections, creating habitable snow-rooms, sketching, drawing and writing.

Enduring temperatures of -35 degrees, the stormy waters of ‘The Devil’s Dancefloor’ and the cramped conditions of nautical living, the film reverently navigates the extraordinary and vulnerable Arctic. Directed by David Hinton, it was edited from 200 hours of Cape Farewell footage by Duncan Harris.

Last Days of the Arctic follows one of the world’s greatest contemporary photographers, Ragnar ‘Rax’ Axelsson, as he traces and retraces journeys both new and familiar through the beguiling wilderness of Iceland and Greenland. Under the ever-present spectre of climate change, he pays witness to the geographic, environmental and personal impact of these fragile landscapes. Axelsson has been documenting Iceland and Greenland for over three decades. His mesmerising and deeply poetic works have garnered significant international acclaim and appeared in National Geographic. The film’s lavish cinematography captures the hauntingly beautiful terrain and people of the frozen north. Director Magnús V. Sigurðsson creates a visual canvas that mirrors Axelsson’s evocative work and the stories he tells.

Program information:

Antarctica: A Year on Ice (Unclassified All Ages)
Sat 18 Apr, 3:00pm
Mon 11 May, 7:00pm
Anthony Powell, 2013, New Zealand, 91 mins, DCP Source Anthony Powell

Expedition to the End of the World (Unclassified All Ages)
Tue 28 Apr, 7:00pm
Tue 12 May, 7:00pm
Daniel Dencik, 2013, Denmark, English and Dutch, 90 mins, DCP Courtesy Danish Film Institute

Art from the Changing Arctic (Unclassified All Ages)
Mon 4 May, 7:00pm
David Hinton, 2005, UK, 60 mins, Digital Betacam

Last Days of the Arctic (Unclassified All Ages)
Fri 8 May, 7:00pm
Fri 15 May, 7:00pm
Magnús V. Sigurðsson, 2011, Iceland and Germany, Icelandic/English/Dutch, 90 mins, HDCam

For more information visit: http://acmi.net.au/poles-apart-climarte