Vivan Las Antipodas
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What would be the shortest route between Entre R�os in Argentina and the Chinese metropolis Shanghai? Simply a straight line through the center of the earth, since the two places are antipodes: they are located diametrically opposite each other on the earth�s surface. Duringh is visits to four such antipodal pairs, the award-winning documentary filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky captured images that turn our view of the world upside down. A beautiful, peaceful sunset in Entre R�os is contrasted with the bustling streets in rainy Shanghai. People who live in a wasteland are connected to people dwelling next to a volcano. These antipodes seem mythically connected, somehow united by their oppositeness.
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The four antipodal pairs documented:
1) The rural community of Entre Rios in Argentina is opposite the bustling vision of Shanghai, China.
2) The Patagonian area of Chile looks surprisingly similar to its antipode of Lake Baikal in Russia.
3) A sparsely populated area of volcanic activity in Hawaii is an interesting contrast to the lifestyle and wildlife of Botswana.
4) A somewhat desolate locale in Spain shares an antipode with a beach in New Zealand.
The camera glides around in "Vivan Las Antipodas" and it's both relaxing and beautiful. Some of the more spectacular images include soaring with a condor, roiling with lava, zooming along with traffic, getting up close to Africa's wildlife or spending time with a beached whale. Sometimes Kossakovsky portrays images that are sideways or upside down and this creates an extra layer of visual interest. Sometimes (many times, in fact) he just sets down and let's the quiet of an area envelope the film.
In the end, I'm not sure that the intent of "Vivan Las Antipodas" came through as successfully as it might. Meant to showcase the similarities and differences of the locations it studies, the connections are sometimes too tenuous and other times a bit obvious. It's a minor point, however, because the film works as a visceral experience. A unique work, you'll either love this or hate it. It's not meant for someone looking for traditional narrative or story. It's a more experimental film for a specialized audience. KGHarris, 6/13.