In the mountains of Ecuador, the last ice miner makes his daily climb up to the glaciers with an axe and a donkey, and returns back down with chunks of glacial ice wrapped in hand-made grass matting. At the market, it’s almost valueless, with the rise of refrigeration and factory-made ice, but it’s the family business, so he carries on.
Beautifully-made short film, just stunning to look at. I often have a lingering feeling of unease watching documentaries about the third world or the poor, which can romanticize the conditions that keep those populations poor and voiceless nearly as often as they give them a voice and document the overlooked; the siren song of simpler, better times long ago can cover a host of sins. This film doesn’t romanticize – though the visual romance of mining the glaciers high in the mountains versus turning out blocks of ice in the factories is undeniable – but instead presents the subject’s own ambivalence over what’s being lost and what’s being gained.