Tuesday, August 02, 2005

How science makes the feeling deeper for Penguins

The French film "March of the Penguins" directed by Luc Jacquet is being shown in Japan. I went to the preview show. Although the effort of the crew to shoot the breathtaking scenes through the harsh winter of the Antarctica is laudable, the film, in my perspective, was seriously flawed in two essential respects. The oversimplified impersonation of the emperor penguins and the cheap "poetic" narrative. These flaws made the wonderful scenes much less enjoyable than otherwise.
People sometimes don't realize how an objective and scientific understanding promotes a deeper appreciation of life, rather than dissecting it out of it vital force. Science is sometimes depicted as cold and impartial, but the most profound perception of what life involves actually comes from scientific understanding.
In these respects, David Attenborough's "Life In the Freezer" produced by BBC is far superior in depicting the trials of life faced by these magnificent creatures on the white earth. In this much-praised film, Attenborough describes the life of penguins in a dry, matter-of-fact way. The Penguins are not there to entertain us, they are there to survive, human sentimentalism having nothing to do with the daily overcoming of their trials.
The march of penguins was cheap poetry. Life in the freezer showed much deeper poetry, made possible only through a rigorous and objective appreciation of the life of a creature far removed from us like a distant star.

Much deeper poetry. David Attenborough's Life in the Freezer.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree! The female peguine's artifactual flashback on the sealion even pissed me off. I can't quite understand how they dared to add those narations after filming such beautiful scenes.

As another BBC film, I'd recomment "Deep Blue". It depicts both the beauty(& wonders!) and harshness of nature, in my opinion.


I'll check out "Life in the Freezer" sometime too. Thanks for the info!

PS: I'm a Japanese reader of your blog and was planning to be strictly an observer of the English version... but I couldn't resist it.

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