Monday, January 14, 2013


On Sunday afternoon I saw "Chasing Ice" at the Bookshelf in Guelph, a documentary film based on the 25 cameras James Balog set up in Iceland, Greenland and Alaska to document what is happening to the glaciers in the North: they're disappearing. The visuals are beyond-belief beautiful, but the meaning of what is happening to them is so grotesque that watching the film was both an aesthetically profound experience as well as disturbing. It made for an hour and a half of inward churning - for me, at least. Ice in all its architectural forms left by weathering is not like anything I have ever seen.

The other aspects of the documentary that I appreciate include the incredibly fierce weather conditions that the crew working on this film had to withstand, as well as the work of scientists to develop the necessary technology in the cameras for this kind of environment.

All the climbing of steep ice cliffs, the powerful wind, hiking through storms and sunshine, their sense of humor from time to time - the passion and determination of James Balog infused the film with a kind of grandeur that was so strong. He even had multiple surgeries on his knees because his trekking through such tough terrain and icy conditions wrecked havoc on this part of his body. The shots of his personal life with his family made the viewer realize that his passion to do what he can about global warming is based in his love for future generations - his daughters - and the whole planet.