The documentary film “In the Ice” in the cinema: In the eternal ice culture

Midday in the frigid desert: Professor Jason Books uses the sun, puts on his underpants, sunglasses and neon headscarf, throws his sleeping mat into the snow and does some yoga: Chaturanga, dog facing up, face down dog. There is nothing around it but a gleaming, shadowless white that stretches to the horizon, and above it a bright blue sky, empty and wide.

Box is not a crazy looking yogi, but an ice explorer. He and fellow Japanese Masashi Niwano are hiking for twelve days through one of the most inhospitable places on Earth: the Greenland Ice Sheet, the world’s second largest after Antarctica. They take measurements to see how much snow fell in the last year. They are equipped with only the essentials: cross-country skis, tent, camping stove, gauges, laptop, and memory cards. And the other side – relentless nature – competes against them with sub-zero temperatures, blizzards and cracks.

Documentary filmmaker Lars Henrik Ostenfeld, who directed “Into the Ice”, will accompany them from this trip and two other trips with glacier seekers. For about 80 minutes, Ostenfeld quietly and without exaggerated drama shows what climate researchers have long been saying: The Earth is getting warmer. Semi-naked yoga on Greenland ice, which was possible on the Greenland Ice Sheet in the middle of summer. But definitely not in April. Or, as Boxes says, “When you realize what’s going on here, you don’t sleep well at night.”

Icemills allow you to descend into the depths of the ice

In “Into the Ice,” the simple beauty of Greenland, captured by Austenfeld in long shots, joins the reality of climate disaster. They can be framed like works of art: ice crystals whipped up by the wind like low ground mist; Ice waves head toward the ocean like a frozen stream; And the icemills – huge cathedrals carved into the ice by the water, reaching hundreds of meters below.


In addition to these great photos, the documentary filmmaker explains the background to climate change research in Greenland: for example, although the ice is known to be melting, no one knows exactly how fast. And that’s even though this is probably the ‘most pressing question’. In German, this narrator’s part was taken over by Campino, a singer dead pants. With his voice, which is not trained in articulation, he is exactly the right man to guide us through the drama of Ice No Longer Eternal.

Besides Box and Niwano, Ostenfeld meets other stars of glaciology: extreme scientist Alon Hubbard and “Ice Queen” Dorothy Dahl-Jensen. Finding all three is yin to yang for radar measurements and laser data from space, which NASA collects, for example. If you look at fluctuations in climate change models, you know that the latter is not always entirely accurate. In order to re-adapt, Box and his colleagues went out on the ice to find the “fundamental truth” – the truth on the spot.


Down to the depths: Alon Hubbard descends into an ice mill.

(Photo: Rise and Shine Cinema)

Admittedly, quiet landscape shots, somewhat taciturn scholars, and brief plays: “Into the Ice” have their lengths. Unlike other nature documentaries, there aren’t even any lovable animals that scroll through the picture from time to time. But if you get into the film’s pace, you might be impressed by its quiet emotion: a box that suddenly weeps with relief that its data is complete. Dahl Jensen happily explains how to “stand with one foot in the Ice Age”. Or Hubbard, who climbs 180 meters deep into an ice mill (deeper than anyone else has ever!) and precooled his life.

At that point, at the latest, one senses the menace that constantly resonates in the film. If you’re not careful, you’ll quickly die in the ice, and the movie also deals with that quintessential threat. Because even if Into the Ice doesn’t brag about it: these extreme researchers are putting their lives at risk. For the rest of humanity, this is for us.

Rejsen til enderDK/D 2022 – Director, Camera: Lars Henrik Ostenfeld. Book: Caspar Harloff. Music: Christian Edens Andersen. With Jason Books, Doroth Dahl Jensen, Alon Hubbard. Rental: Rise and Shine Cinema 86 minutes. Theatrical release: September 15, 2022.

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