5 May 2007 | wandering-star
"Antarctica" is the story of the men and dogs of Japan's Antarctic research station in the 50's. Ushioda, Ochi and the rest of the team are forced to leave the dogs behind with Antarctic winter approaching, on the understanding that another team is to arrive in a few days. Once on board the ice breaker, they discover to their horror that due to the weather, no one will be able to make it back until the next spring. The dogs are left chained up to fend for themselves.
The story from there is a mixture of fact and conjecture, concerning what the few dogs who were able to escape their chains, did, and how two did survive until the next spring.
The fate of some of these dogs is very sad, and you may not want to watch this if you're a sensitive dog lover. But, the survival of the lucky ones is inspiring. The dogs are not portrayed as in a children's movie (overly cute) but are shown realistically, being kicked by their masters when they fight, and in one scene, savagely attacking a seal when desperate for food. (which, by the way, looks absolutely real - PETA would not be happy!!) The film goes back and forth between the dogs' plight in Antarctica and Ushioda & Ochi back in Japan, who are beside themselves with guilt and grief over the fate of the dogs.
I was so drawn in to this movie, that when Ushioda & Ochi return the following spring, and are scanning the station from the helicopter, that I found myself straining to see with them, looking hopefully for any sign of life.
Ultimately this is a story about man's relationship with dogs, and the unbreakable bond of love that exists between them.