Microcosmos

"Excellent"

Microcosmos Review


A welcome trend in recent moviegoing is the increased willingness of audiences to spend time in the company of documentaries. The past couple of years have seen movies such as Bowling for Columbine, Spellbound, Bus 174, Capturing the Friedmans, and Winged Migration holding their relative own at the box office. Since this hasn't always been the case, fans of the last title -- the breathtakingly photographed nature documentary -- are directed to the new DVD release of a little treasure from the same producers that they might have missed: 1996's outstanding Microcosmos.

Its subject, at first glance, is one of the ickiest imaginable: bugs. Given this reviewer's uneasy relationship with the lifeform (grasshoppers in particular freak me out completely), no one could have convinced me that I would leave a documentary about the day-to-day lives of insects in anything but a state of sustained panic. And yet Microcosmos remains among my very favorite nature documentaries or, for that matter, documentaries of any kind.

Microcosmos does more than dryly chronicle, say, the lifespan of the carpenter ant. Its opening narration (the only words we hear until the ending) invites us into a French meadow, and the filmmakers then employ jaw-dropping visuals to silently convey not just the activities of the many insects they study, but also the dizzyingly foreign world in which they live. Here raindrops fall like missile strikes, predator insects (and in one unforgettable sequence a pheasant) tower overhead like Mothra over Japan, and the whole blue sky opens up above just three or four inches above the ground. This meadow is a labyrinth at ground level, packed with as much activity as any city, and varied beyond belief in its population. Smart editing and heightened sound complete the otherworldly feel of this parallel reality teeming below the human knee.

Microcosmos received some flak from critics and documentarians when released on a technicality: the situations it records were sometimes orchestrated for the camera -- two insects, for instance, may have been placed in proximity to one another and then allowed to react as they normally would -- and its integrity as a documentary thus challenged. My advice is not to worry about it. The material presented here is so compelling and so true to the natural processes it records that it's beside the point to wonder if the filmmakers waited for nature to take its course or sped up the proceedings a little. The joy of watching Microcosmos has less to do with the science of the thing and much more with the fascinating, intricate world of the insects themselves.

Aka Microcosmos: Le peuple de l'herbe.

How's it hangin?



Microcosmos

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th September 1996

Distributed by: Miramax

Production compaines: Conseil Général de l'Aveyron, Galatée Films, France 2 Cinéma, Canal+, Bac Films, Delta Images, Les Productions JMH, Urania Film, Télévision Suisse-Romande (TSR)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Marie Pérennou

Starring: as Récitant / Narrator (French version) (voice), as Narrator (English version) (voice)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.