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Film Details

Directed by: Jean Painlevé

Produced: 1978

Countries & Regions: France

DVD Details

Certificate: E

Studio: British Film Institute

Length: 215 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 11 June 2007

Cat No: BFIVD719

Extras:
Languages(s): French
Subtitles: English
Interactive Menu
Screen ratio 1:1.33

Moviemail Details

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Science is Fiction: The Films of Jean Painleve

DVD
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Before David Attenborough and Jacques Cousteau - there was Jean Painleve. Poetic pioneer of science films, Painleve explored a twilight... Read More

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Before David Attenborough and Jacques Cousteau - there was Jean Painleve. Poetic pioneer of science films, Painleve explored a twilight realm of vampire bats, seahorses, octopi, and liquid crystals. In collaboration with his life-partner, Genevieve Hamon, Painleve made more than 200 science and nature films and was an early champion of the genre. This selection from 50 years of passionate scientific enquiry includes his most famous films - ’The Sea Horse’, ’The Vampire’, ’The Love Life of the Octopus’ and ’Sea Urchins’.

A pioneer in the realm of natural science films, who aimed to entertain as well as instruct (outraging the purists by so doing), Jean Painlevé, along with his partner Geneviève Hamon, made over 200 films of mysterious nature in all its squirming, twitching, teeming, lubricious glory. Set to a range of musical accompaniment (Love Life of the Octopus sounds like Delia Derbyshire and the BBC radiophonic workshop let loose with their oscillators on an episode of Life on Earth), they are eccentric, delightful, and have an eye to the poetry of events.

This selection is filled with magical moments – acera bobbing though the water like angels in a quattrocento fresco, a shrimp shedding its casing 'like a ghost emerging from its diaphanous cloak", a male seahorse expelling its young, or (to a Duke Ellington number), a grimacing vampire bat suckling blood from a guinea pig; this last film gaining allegorical resonance from being made at the end of WWII.

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