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Ice People 2008

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Anne Aghion Films, PO Box 1528, New York, NY 10276
Produced by Benoit Gryspeerdt and Anne Aghion
Directed by Anne Aghion
DVD, color, 77 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Science, Global Warming, Climatology, Geology

Date Entered: 01/30/2009

Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO

Award winning documentary filmmaker Anne Aghion follows two research geologists and two graduate students as they work in Antarctica’s interior dry valleys. The geologists made a wager as to how long the film crew would last before they asked to be rescued. The film crew (which is never actually shown in the film) lasted for 7 weeks. Aghion spent four months following the scientists and students as they searched for clues to the history of Antarctica’s past. There are also segments that show them at night in their tents, as well as when they are out during the day digging in freezing weather. Their discovery of a leaf fossil and some freeze-dried moss give proof that Antarctica had a greener past and supported a lake ecosystem. But, this film is really more about the day-to-day life that such dedicated people experience while being in a challenging climate. There are no showers. There are no bathrooms. Aghion also films the support staff at McMurdo Station—IT folks, plumbers, dishwashers—who outnumber the scientists ten to one. This film shows the drudgery and discomfort of field work as well as the intermittent rare moments of exhilarating discovery. The pace is slow throughout the documentary, which mirrors the actual work being done.

The technical and video qualities are amazing.

Ice People is suitable for Senior high school and college classes.

Highly recommended.