Science and Art in “Ice People”

Haim Watzman

Ice People is ostensibly a documentary about geologists in Antarctica, but beyond than that it’s a work of art about the continent’s landscapes. More than informing us about south pole science, director Anne Ahgion tells us something important about the processes of artistic and scientific creation.

In a central scene, the four geologists she whose work she chronicled climb up to one of the ridges of the Trans-Antarctic mountain range and gaze out over a huge ravine at a volcano. Aghion’s camera takes a long shot, showing a small human figure dwarfed against this primal landscape—one that only a handful of human beings have ever seen. It’s a moment of breathtaking, majestic beauty.

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