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Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, 2012
Norway | 118 minutes
While living with his wife on the Polynesian island of Fatu Huku, anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl uncovers indications that the ancestors of the local Polynesian community may have originated not from Asia, as conventionally thought, but from South America. From this notion, Heyerdahl arranges what many think to be a fool’s errand: traversing the Pacific from east to west with a small crew in a boat made of hemp similar to the original voyagers. Although Heyerdahl’s 1947 adventure has been popularized in his own book and his self-made documentary, co-directors Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg (Max Manus) reframe the odyssey in grand, spectacular form, a big-screen epic that extends from the cosmic to the private relations among Heyderdahl’s motley crew. The result is a movie that applies new filmmaking technology to the unlikely story of a near-Quixotic scientist using the most meager of methods. A Weinstein Company release.