Docurama // 2011 // 108 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // August 22nd, 2013
"I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards! The Antipathies, I think..." -- Lewis Carroll
What are antipodes? "People or places diametrically opposite to one another on the earth's surface," according to a legend at the start of ¡Vivan Las Antipodas! Director Victor Kassakovsky takes viewers to four antipodal pairs of cities: Entre Rios, Argentina, and Shanghai, China; Patagonia, Chile, and Lake Baikal, Russia; Big Island, Hawaii, and Kubu, Botswana; and Miraflores, Spain, and Castle Point, New Zealand.
¡Vivan Las Antipodas! is mostly wordless, its pictures -- which include kids shooting hoops against a backdrop of volcanic rock, an eagle swooping past mountains, elephants and lions, and lovers watching waves -- telling the stories of the eight locales. The pictures do every scene justice, with sharp, bright color. The music that accompanies much of the movie gives viewers the flavor of the countries featured in a majestic Gershwinny sort of way.
Kassakovsky chooses his images well; getting a tractor moving and plowing a field seems like a dramatic moment. At times, the images flip to mimic the geographical opposition, a touch that's a bit corny but not too distracting. A pan of a rundown neighborhood puts humanity into the documentary, but there's less statement than you'd expect from the theme of antipodes.
Some background on the locales involved -- even with text -- would have been helpful, but none is included.
¡Vivan Las Antipodas! is just beautiful.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, Spanish, Shanghaiese, Tswana)
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated