Antarctic Journal

Antarctic Journal – Namgeuk-ilgi – 2005

antarctic journal

from Wikipedia: During their journey the expedition led by Captain Choi Do-hyung discovers a journal that was left behind by a British expedition 80 years earlier. The journal was remarkably preserved in a box in the snow and Kim Min-jae, another member of the expedition, gets the job of examining it. It turns out that the two expeditions shared the same goal and soon other strange similarities between them start to show up.

I have recently been more and more interested in the theme of “whiteness” in horror/thriller/drama movies. Something that gives an extreme and almost out of place contrast with subjects otherwise dark, and gruesome, and definitely not innocent – as opposed to what we usually identify the color white with.

Antarctic Journal is the combination of all this things, and is undeniably as white as any movie could possibly be. Filmed in 2005 by director Yim Pil-sung, Antarctic Journal scores korean actors as big as Song Kang-ho (Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, The Host) and Yoo Ji-tae (Oldboy, Into the Mirror) as members of an expedition team trying to reach the Pole of Inaccessibility, nonetheless. One of the most difficult places to reach on the planet, trodden upon only once by a Soviet team in 1958. antarctic_journal

Everything goes relatively fine until the group finds  an old journal left by a British expedition team around eighty years in the past. Only a few pages are readable, but there are some spooky drawings that not only point to the fate of the British crew, but eerily parallel the mishaps affecting the Korean team in the present day. This is when things start going wrong, and a different kind of journey is set to start, one that goes deeper and deeper into the explorers’ minds.

We are following both a physical and psychological journey of a group of men that soon begin to question the reasons for the journey itself,  with no immediate chance of coming out of an incredibly desolate, icy surrounding that is so desperately white, and all of a sudden just lonely and endless. antarctic_journal_haut

Antarctic Journal is really slow paced, so you’d have to be in the proper mindset to watch it, even tho i found it to be one of the movie’s strong points. Everything looks and in fact is simply frozen and stuck in time. Altho psychological thriller would be a better classification for it,  some really creepy elements such as ghosts and the weird drawings in the Journal itself, made it fall into the horror category.

The big budget and popular faces put into this movie generated high expectations,  but later failed to deliver both critics and box office-wise. It is definitely not the best korean movie i’ve ever seen nor makes it to my top-anything, but there’s something about that whiteness, so intense and endless and hallucinating, that just captured me and intrigued me enough to put it up here. If you ever come across to seeing it, some of you out there will know what i mean.



8 Responses to “Antarctic Journal”

  1. Hey! Long time no see! HAHA!

    This one sounds pretty good. I seem to be catching lots of these snow themed movies lately and all that white really is a pretty cool thing. I’ll have to keep this one on my radar.

  2. hey hey! i took a little summer vacation :)

    see, i don’t know if it’s the snow itself (even tho i did see a bunch of snow movies lately.. like dead snow! how awful! i hated it so badly) as much as the immaculate frame that i was referring to. another extremely white movie to me is Lady Vengeance.

    ps: i finally watched pontypool and needless to say it’s gonna be up here really soon!

  3. Oh man, you didn’t like Dead Snow??? It wasn’t a masterpiece but it’s still lots of fun, plus Nazi zombies! That makes it pretty cool right there.

    I still haven’t seen Lady Vengeance even though I’ve had it for so long. I hope you liked Pontypool as much as I did, which could be a challenge since I LOVED IT!! HAHA!

  4. see, i was super excited about the Nazi Zombies. really. i mean come on.. it’s NAZI ZOMBIES! but that wasn’t good enough to cover how bad the rest of it was, i found it so boring i could hardly go thru the whole thing, even in the gore scenes! i will admit that maybe there’s a bit of a language barrier in this movie. i mean.. i watch 90% of my movies in a foreign language with subtitles, but THAT specific language is just ugly for my ear. it doesn’t flow.. oh gosh i don’t mean to sound racist at all, i just don’t like the sound of it i guess.


    nuff said :D

  5. watched “Let the right One In” ? Is totally about the white atmosphere.

    I had just watch a korean film call Hansel & Gretel I like it, great art and really crazy

  6. i love let the right one in! i plan on giving it my own personal tribute once i see any snow around me :)

    i heart about hansel and gretel, i’m gonna try to grab a copy right now thanks for the reminder!

  7. […] in 2007 by Yim Phil-Sung (Antarctic Journal) , Hansel and Gretel provides such a delightful journey with its impeccable photography and camera […]

  8. I really wanted to finish this movie (mainly for Song Kang-ho) but I guess horror just isn’t for me… : ( I managed half way through it… is there a lot of horror elements in the latter part of it I wonder?

    Anyway I think you’re right about the fact that the movie being slow paced is actually one of its strong points. It really fits to the eery atmosphere.

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