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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)










Victor Kossakovsky’s VIVAN LAS ANTIPODAS! (2011) –(LONG LIVE THE ANTIPODES!) premiered this year at the 68th Venice Film Festival and most recently screened to audiences at the 14th Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival. It is for me one of the most memorable documentaries since Ron Fricke’s BARAKA (1992), similar in form as a type of guided meditation which takes us around the world showing it in new light.

The film begins in Entre Rios, Argentina on a small house beside a dirt road where on a busy day one car may pass by. We stay on this house, the dirt road and slow life just long enough to feel a part of Entre Rios itself when suddenly, an upside down shot of a bustling city of millions presents its antithesis. The metropolis of millions in constant movement is Shanghai, China, which in fact is the antipode of Entre Rios, Argentina. Shanghai soon takes over and we find ourselves watching the dizzying pace of this mass city in its constant movement and urban development. The images of Shanghai continue until once again, we see Entre Rios upside down to its Shanghai antipode, splitting the scene. The two are seen together in their chaotic diversity while remarkably appearing somehow in harmony.

Kossakovsky’s film presents four antipodes in the same manner accompanied by an exceptional score by composer Alexander Popov. There is no dialogue in this unique and unforgettable documentary, a synthesis to a world of contrasts and opposites. Beyond Argentina and China, the film takes us to other antipodes between Chile and Russia, Botswana and The Big Island, Hawaii and finally between Spain and New Zealand. The filming is stunning and even awe-inspiring at times when we are presented with close-up scenes of flowing lava from volcanic Big Island, Hawaii to sounds and images of wild game in Botswana, Africa; and further when we are shown every day life in Spain alongside its antipode on a beach in New Zealand where a beached whale is cut into pieces and buried in the sand.

These are just four of an earth full of antipodes and a world full of limitless opposites. What a world of wonder! Long live the antipodes!

-written by Vanessa McMahon March 31, 2012


Director Victor Kossakovsky



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