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Winged Migration (Exclusive to Amazon.co.uk) [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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Filmmaker, Jacques Perrin used film crews that totaled over 450 people to make this documentary that follows the migration of birds through 40 countries on 7 continents; across areas as remote as the Arctic and the Amazon and as populated as the cities of Paris and New York.
Jacques Perrin (Microcosmos) presents this dramatically beautiful documentary about bird migratory patterns, featuring breathtaking photography and hypnotic music. The film covers seven continents during four seasons, highlighting species both unique and common. From Puffins in Iceland, Whooper Swans in Japan, Bald Eagles in Alaska, Flamingos in Kenya, Macaw in Peru, Geese in Nepal, and plenty of Cranes and Storks in the director's native France, Winged Migration is literally a tour of the world from a bird's eye view. Filmed over the course of three year's time, the production for the movie was extensive to say the least. Using a crew of over 450 people broken up into five teams, new photographic techniques were invented specifically for the purpose of filming flocks of birds in flight. Balloon, helicopter, helicopter model, remote controlled glider, traditional glider, delta plane, and ultra-light motorized aircraft are the flying devices used to achieve the film's incredible camera angles. In fact, because birds are not afraid of the delta plane, photographers were able to fly alongside flocks, sometimes filming birds as they gazed into the camera's lense while also keeping in focus the dramatic landscape unfolding below. Winged Migration takes viewers on a unique journey soaring over the Earth as few films have ever done before.
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The film begins along a minor waterway in Europe as a flock of geese begins its annual migration north to its summer breeding ground. It then cuts to other locales around the world as other species of large birds - usually cranes, swans, and storks, but also gannets, loons and others - begin their respective journeys. In all cases, the captioning identifies the species, their start points and destinations, and the miles between the two. Occasionally, Perrin makes the point more spectacularly by superimposing the flying flock on an image of the Earth taken from near-orbit. Voice overs are kept to a minimum.
Except for New York (with the WTC still standing), Paris, and a dismal industrial wasteland in eastern Europe, the flocks are shown flying through unpopulated landscapes both varied and magnificent: beaches, ice fields, Monument Valley, northern tundra, open oceans, snow-covered mountains, Asian farmlands, forest-enclosed lakes, deserts, and tropical rainforests. The sunset and weather (blizzards, fog, thunderstorms) provide dramatic backdrops. Then, at journey's end, the birds are shown in their summer habitats - usually steep, dramatic cliffs or rock-strewn shores with sea-ravaged margins.
But certainly the most eye-popping camera work is with the bird formations on the wing. The apparent vantage point of the lens is among the flock, with individual birds only an arm or hand-length away above, below, or to the side. I mean, you're RIGHT THERE! You'd think they'd have to be computer animated models.Read more ›
Facts about the flight patterns are briefly put on the screen, the longest journey followed is that of the Arctic tern, flying 12,500 miles.
The panoramic scenery is spectacular, with a scene of an Arctic avalanche being very memorable. Yes, much of the film is manipulated, but the beauty of it is undeniable, and it's educational in the sense of seeing these birds in action, in their living and mating, and the miracle of their migrations.
Not all of them make it, and it shows how some journeys are cut short by predators, whether shot down, or eaten by a larger creature, or in the case of a tern with a broken wing, getting attacked and devoured by a hoard of crabs.
Some of these depictions are devised to tug on our heart strings, and might not be suitable for young children, like the unfortunate goose that gets stuck in urban sludge, and another bird whose nest is in the path of a threshing machine.
The filmmakers state that the tern and goose were rescued after the scenes was shot, and one assumes that the thresher was hopefully stopped in time.
The brilliantly colored parrots in the Amazon region, and the penguins in Antarctica are unforgettable. The greater sage grouse, with spiked tail in all his glory strutting his stuff in Idaho, and the Northern gannet diving into the Arctic sea, looking more like a missile than a bird are also images that stay in one's mind.
This film was directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, with a crew of fifteen cinematographers, among them Thierry Machado, and it has a lovely peaceful score by Bruno Coulais.Read more ›
Yes some of the shots are manipulated, but that doesn't detract from the amazing visual feast. It's not overly sentimental, scenes such as the injured bird and the crabs, the goose hunters and penguins apparently standing by why their young are predated are shocking, but the beautiful scenes stick in the mind too. And so few people on shot is another plus - though the scene of the Bulgarian woman feeding returning cranes like old friends is a highlight.
The film is a visual feast and you get to experience the bird's successful migrations and their unfortunate unsuccessful ones - being shot down, hunted by birds of prey, or getting injured. It also puts into perspective our own lives, as we busily migrate back and forth to work everyday, mostly oblivious to our surroundings, while above us and all around us life is thriving and surviving. These magnificent animals soar over our cities, as the film shows beautifully, and we are only little spots to them as they travel thousands of miles with only the flap of their wings. Humankind was once so impressed with these birds, and envious, that we wanted to be like them, so we invented planes. But we still could never match their elegance and magnificence.
The film however does get boring at times, which is usually the case with films that are majority visual and lack narration, taking away depth and educational aspects. The film is less a documentary and more an art film. But it is definitely worth a watch and will give you a different perspective on birds and yourself forever.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
DVD arrived exactly as promised and was greatly appreciated by my friends.Published 2 months ago by J. M. Keough
Beautiful DVD . Highly recommend it .My daughter watched it through to the end then immediately watched it again !Published 7 months ago by Pammy
GREAT. BUT ONLY DOWNFALL, IS THATU HAVE TO SELECT PLAY MOVIE. BE BETTER IF IT WENT STRAIGHT TO THE MOVIE.Published 14 months ago by Emma Parnill