Sunday, April 25, 2010

Review of Antarctic Journal staring Song Kang-ho

I've never read a movie review quite like this one. The reviewer, Mr. X, was evidently quite blown away by this film. It's about famed South Korean director Lim Pil-seong's 2005 film "Antarctic Journal" (남극일기). The film stars Song Kang-ho who plays Choi Do-hyung.

Here's an excerpt from the review:
How can I judge a film like this is something I still haven't come to terms with. For people who truly love films, who see them as something more than filler for dates, experiencing a great film is like entering the relationship of your life: you see no faults in that person at first, no matter what other people say, you continue head on, trusting your instincts. Then, as life goes on, you learn to understand and accept that person's faults and weaknesses. To other people's eyes, all there is to see is faults, they can't find positive aspects to something they think they don't like. But I can't really say I'm at either of those stages. Is Antarctic Journal merely a great film marred by some problems inherent with the system? Just like Kim Ji-Woon's delicious 장화, 홍련 (A Tale Of Two Sisters) shooting on its own feet, trying to explain what it beautifully concealed through its characters' mind for two hours? Too bleak and dark to appeal to the average masses, too fragmented and intelligent to sit comfortably within the conventions of one single genre, too in love with its atmosphere to trust characterization on the audience's ability to extrapolate it from the actors' performances? The judgment is up to you, to what kind of things you look for in a film, to how much those flashy moving pictures involve you on a personal level. I might fail my job as a reviewer today not passing yet that judgment on this film, but I'm not ready. I'm still looking for answers to the myriad of questions the movie creates, questions it never answers because it respects the viewer enough to let him or her find them themselves. I might never reach those conclusions after all, be it my or the film's fault. Call it my very own Pole of Inaccessibility, but the only thing I want to do right now is watch it again. And again.
If the film is half as inspiring as the review, it will be well worth watching.  

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Killer whales attack seal

Check out this amazing video taken by a tourist in Antarctica.  Their ship came across a school of killer whales attacking a seal. It's a fist-ever video of such a sight.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Antarctica's fish contain antifreeze

How is it possible for fish to survive in the cold waters of Antarctica?

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Monday, April 5, 2010

South Korea's first base in Antarctica

Science:
South Korea last week chose Terra Nova Bay as the site for its first research base on mainland Antarctica. A survey earlier this year by the country's first icebreaker research ship, Araon, found that the site was more accessible and had better weather than another option, Cape Burks. The 100-billion-won (US$88-million) base, to be completed by 2014, will be used to study global warming. The country has had another base on nearby King George Island since 1988.
Here is a really beautiful photo of South Korea's old base, King Sejong Station, from the Korea Times.


Let's hope South Korea keeps Antarctica looking this beautiful.  According to the article, South Korea is not oblivious to the economic angle:
 In 2003, a natural gas reservoir with a capacity that exceeds by 300-fold South Korea's annual consumption, was found in the Antarctic seas. Research into plankton in the Antarctic Ocean paved the way for world's first technology that allows blood to remain unchanged even when stored at low temperatures. A meteorite investigation team found meteorites both this and last year, endorsing South Korea's status as the world's fifth country to find meteorites. Researchers also cooperate with international teams to conduct yearlong research into the environment.
 Antarcticana wishes South Korea good luck on its new base.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bye bye American dome...

The United States has torn down its famous geodesic dome -- a South Pole landmark.

Antarctic Sun:
It was never supposed to hang around this long. Ten years, maybe 15 at most. Perhaps that's why the South Pole Dome -- a modestly sized structure spanning 164 feet and topping out at about 52 feet high -- has loomed so large in the lore and legacy of polar history. The final chapter in that story will be completed 35 years after the U.S. Antarctic Program's most iconic research station was officially dedicated in January 1975. The dome, the second research station built at the geographic South Pole, is coming down....  The Antarctic Treaty, an international agreement among nations with scientific interests and operations in Antarctica, requires obsolete structures like the dome to be removed where practicable.
Frontierwatch:
There’s a bunch of photos of the Dome Deconstruction at SouthPoleStation.com. I lived in the Dome for a year, surrounded by mattress-covered roofs and frozen boxes of rump roast. With all the weird little buildings inside and compiled artifacts, the Dome was quite a character compared to the new station with its psychologically-uplifting indoor color scheme and rectangular sterility.

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Meteor strike in Antarctica

Pravda:

The blast, which occurred in the sky above Antarctica about 480,000 years ago, was similar to the Tunguska meteorite disaster of 1908. 

The report presented at the conference for paleontology and the exploration of the moon in Texas unveiled the results of the analysis of spherical microparticles discovered in Antarctica. 

The fine particles were found in the Transantarctic Mountains, in a region called Miller Butte. 

“We've got similar material spread over a very large area. It's difficult to do that with any other mechanism. These events are tricky to spot after they happen. If you go to Tunguska now, you've really got your work cut out trying to find any trace of that event – and that was 1908. What makes [the] work so exciting is that it may give us a way of spotting these events in the geological record. If these spherules are the signature, we know what to look for in future,” Imperial College London expert Dr Phil Bland told the BBC.

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