Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Original title: Mission Antarctique
Portions in French with English subtitles

The last of the seven continents to be discovered, Antarctica (from the Greek Aνταρκτική “Opposite of the Arctic”) remained neglected by the rest of the world because of its isolation, hostile environment and lack of resources. The first confirmed sighting of the continent is commonly accepted to have occurred in 1820 by a Russian expedition. There are no permanent human residents and no evidence of any pre-historic indigenous population. Approximately 98% covered with ice only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there: mosses, lichen, algae, penguins and fur seals.

The Sedna IV is a 50 metre (165 ft) three-masted schooner that has been used for scientific expeditions and the filming of documentaries. Built by Abeking & Rasmussen in Germany in 1957 as a fishing trawler, she was refitted as a sailing vessel in 1992. In 2001 a Canadian film crew acquired the ship and fitted it out with a film studio complete with editing equipment. Also on board is high-precision scientific equipment to gather, compile and analyse data to fulfil the expedition's scientific research program.

Narrated by Donald Sutherland
Captain Jean Lemire, biologist and filmmaker
Mechanic Stéven Pearson
Mariano Lopez, mental health caregiver

Their mission: to observe and document what climate change is doing to Antarctica. What they saw and experienced is a bit of an eye-opener. Not simply the stunning views but what they had to cope with. With intelligent narration and a lovely musical score, the two hours plus goes by quickly.


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