Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hot Docs 2012 - Vivan las Antipodas!

Vivan las Antipodas! by Victor Kossakovsky, 2011

Antipodes are communities which have diametrically opposite communities on the other side of the Earth. These occurrences are very rare due to the amount of water on the Earth's surface. In Kossakovsky's documentary, he explores the sites of four pairs of these antipodal communities. Taking a more observational, direct cinema approach, Vivan las Antipodas! is visually stunning. Watching the sun set over rural Argentina, a butterfly skipper over rainwater in Spain and lava creep slowly in Hawaii, all make for beautiful scenes. But what the film achieves visually, it lacks cinematically. There are no real insights into the similarities and differences between the antipodes (other than the ones the audience may make themselves - which personally amounted to very little), and many of the visuals feel tedious and pointless. I am all for quiet, meditative films (The Robinsons of Mantsinsaari is one of my favourite documentaries), but when the idea amounts to more than the outcome, I feel let down.

2 out of 5

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