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Glacier Calving as a Metaphor

by Robin Killian

The images of the glacier calving are reflective of a tumultuous state of mind. They are utilized to illustrate the way we often feel as human beings when tragedy, disorder, or chaos strike our lives. Sometimes the aftermath of these moments intimidates/frightens us. The glacier calving is a natural process that cannot be stopped once it is in motion.
The long takes allow the audience to experience the disintegration in “real time.” Rather than experiencing the breakdown quickly, the viewer is forced to stay with it for approximately a minute. This creates a certain discomfort as well as a sense of awe at the power of nature. This clip resurfaces several times in the project in order to recall the chaos happening in the world around the central character.

The central character allows her thoughts to overtake her during this montage, the climax of the film. She struggles to let go of the destruction and change her perception, and instead allows her thoughts to run wild. The long takes are representative of the fixation on a problem, and juxtaposed with the angry mob, we arrive at a style that suggests emotional assault. The viewer is given permission to assign a personal battle to the unrelenting imagery.

After resisting the negative thoughts that assault her, the central character allows herself to come face to face with her struggle (represented by the glacier) and find the beauty in it that is so apparent to the viewer. The central character sees the beauty of the calving of the glacier for the first time, enabling her to appreciate it and finally let the thoughts go. Although the outcome of her situation remained the same as it was, her perspective changed. This shift allows her to acknowledge the circumstances and move forward.

Chasing Ice: Glacier Calving

A large glacier calving is caught on camera.

from Chasing Ice (2012)
Creator: Jeff Orlowski
Distributor: National Geographic Channel, Amazon Prime
Posted by Robin Killian