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" We’re not asking you to take orders, Joe. We’re tellin you. "
— Robert DeNiro, Once Upon a Time in America

MRQE Top Critic

Ballroom

An exercise in atmosphere, with some really inspired surrealism —John Adams (DVD review...)

Trividic et al haunt the Ballroom

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This Japanese movie opens with a title reading “This is a true story.” It is the story, mostly, of a team of Japanese sled dogs on an Antarctic expedition in 1957. One expedition crew is going home, to be replaced by another crew. The first crew makes it out, but stormy conditions, damaged equipment, and the onset of the Antarctic winter keep the second crew from getting in. The sled dogs, left at the base for the second crew, are now alone and chained in the snow and wind. One by one they break their bonds, and the movie follows each one in its struggle to survive the Antarctic winter. Antarctica is mostly a dramatic re-creation, but occasionally a narrator or subtitle tells us what happened to the real dogs. This makes the movie a bit choppy, but the dogs’ stories make it utterly fascinating.