Winged Migration (Le peuple migrateur)
Wednesday 17 March at 7.30pm
Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud & Michel Debats│France│2001│89 mins│G
This spectacular, almost wordless film about the incredibly arduous journeys made by birds during their migrations was shot on all seven continents during the course of four years.
“It took four years (three of them for actual filming) for director Jacques Perrin and his crew of over 450 people to track multiple species of birds across the globe and follow them on their instinctive odyssey for survival. As a documentation on the flight patterns and behavior of our winged friends, the film is about as comprehensive as they come. Perrin and his team of fourteen cinematographers get up close and personal to an unprecedented extent, allowing us to see even the most minuscule movement. Winged Migration is much more than that, though. If one of the aims of art is to enhance one’s appreciation of the beauty of nature, then the film succeeds as art as well. (…) Perrin starts the film by making us feel at home and establishing the incredible proximity that he has achieved in studying his subjects as we watch a songbird weave through trees as the camera follows closely behind. One of the very few human players helps a goose who has been left behind return to his fellow travelers, but before then we’ve been treated to the first of many intimate shots of flight. Immediately, one wonders, how did they do that? Anyone who has approached a bird or a flock of birds knows how quick they are to fly off. There was a period of training for the birds to get them accustomed to the presence of human beings, and from there, it was simply a matter of using a wide assortment of remote controlled and manual aircraft.” – Mark Dujsik, Mark Reviews Movies
“The actors in “Winged Migration” strut across the frame like natural-born stars, aware of but ignoring the presence of cameramen and directors. They have personality and vitality. Oh, and they can fly. Not since Hitchcock’s “The Birds” have our friends of the air given such lavish performances and earned the top billing they get here. (…) Many shots were taken from ultralight aircraft, hot air balloons and other flying apparatus; consequently, the viewer feels as airborne as the birds themselves. Watching the film is the next best thing to flying. (…) Seeing the beauty of nature unfold on the big screen and having it wash over you the way this does is enough to make anyone become a birdlover.” – Eric D. Snider, ericdsnider.com