The Expedition to the End of the World
Daniel Dencik

Thursday Aug 1, 2013

Thursday Aug 1, 2013


The Expedition to the End of the World (Daniel Dencik | Denmark | 88 min.)

In the north east of Greenland, permafrost has encased the earth for thousands of years. Now the ice is melting, exposing some of the last uncharted land remaining on earth. The Expedition to The End of the World trails a small group of artists and scientists on a journey onboard a 19th Century schooner to become the first human beings to explore this as yet unknown landscape of majestic fjords and gloriously unspoiled mountains.

Stunningly captured and awe-inspiring in its rendering of nature, Expedition casts a delicate light on the issues of global warming in a way that is deliberately narrow in focus yet overwhelmingly epic in scope. Each member of the crew delves vigorously into the terra incognita that surrounds them, drawing on disparate philosophies and tools to aid them in understanding what they’re seeing. Yet whether tracing the geochemical origins of ancient life, painting endless pictures of the sea, or cracking jokes about polar bears, it’s clear they’re all grappling with the same question—why are we here? As cabin fever sets in, they each face the inevitable unknowability of the Earth, and a sense of futility hangs heavy over the voyage, tempered by an archly comic fatalism.

Danish director Daniel Dencik refuses to idolize nature, choosing instead to simply present it in all its strange otherness. Filled with strange adventures, curious conversations and dramatic moments—from the uneasy encounter with a disturbingly eager oil firm, to the ominous, foreboding presence of a polar bear—The Expedition to The End of the World performs its own rhythm as it lulls you out of the daily grind and into something resembling a state of higher consciousness. Replete with equal doses of candid irreverence and amusing self-indulgence, the film neither professes to be able to provide any answers nor makes any bold attempts at profundity, but rather washes over you, revealing the inescapable transience of our existence on planet earth.

- Cressida Greening

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.