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UK, 1919 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama - Special Presentation)

Director: Frank Hurley

A breathtaking visual record of Sir Ernest Shackleton's heroic but ill-fated attempt to cross Antarctica in 1914 South is a unique historical document and a moving tribute to a small party of men who set out on a voyage of discovery that became an epic struggle for survival.

As the crew finally abandoned their ship, Endurance, which was slowly being crushed by pack ice (an awe­some, violent spectacle), Australian photographer Frank Hurley dived into the icy waters of the hold to rescue his precious pholographic plates and rolls of film. As an early documentary, South is remarkable in the matter-of-fact manner in which it deals with the explorers' actions in the face of what must have seemed like certain death. Unforgettably vivid images stir the heart, such as that of the stranded ship, riggings covered in frost, looking like Gustave Dore's illustration for The Ancient Mariner.

Hurley's record of life aboard Endurance, with a crew that included 70 sled dogs, gives insightful glimpses of hardship, a Spartan existence that slowly toughened Ihe crew for the ordeal they would undergo. At stages the expedition seems almost mythical—like a condensed version of ihe travels of Jason and his Argonauts—with brave men facing fate, the elements and a hostile alien land with rudimentary eguipment and their bare hands

Twenty-seven hand-picked men attempted to tra­verse Antarctica via the South Pole. After the loss of Endurance, the expedition undertook a monumental trek across the ice and an incredible 800 mile sea journey to South Georgia in a row boat! Shackleton reached a remote whaling station, heard about the progress of the Great War and rescued his entire crew. A restoration of an incredibly impressive achievement.

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