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Darwin (1992)

6.4
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A revisionist biopic on Charles Darwin, illustrated via 18 tableaux covering details from Darwin's birth, his defining voyage on the HMS Beagle, the publication of his seminal Theory of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jacques Bonnaffé ...
Narrateur (voice)
Barbara M. Messner ...
Crazy
Germain Pengel ...
Orphan child / indian child
Yannick Pengel ...
Orphan child
Bert Sevenhuijsen ...
Charles Darwin (as Bert Svenhujsen)
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Storyline

A revisionist biopic on Charles Darwin, illustrated via 18 tableaux covering details from Darwin's birth, his defining voyage on the HMS Beagle, the publication of his seminal Theory of Evolution and his ultimate death and consequent burial at Westminster Abbey. Written by Thivanka Rukshan Perera

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September 1992 (Italy)  »

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Darwin Illustrated
5 May 2009 | by (Sri Lanka) – See all my reviews

The epitome of British Television in the 1990's. Indeed, what a great time it must've been to switch on the TV and be graced with programs like "Darwin (1993)". Its runtime clocks in at 53 minutes, yet towards the end you'll feel like you've watched a full length feature--not in any negative sense, but purely due to the fact that Peter Greenaway ("The Cook, the Thief, the Wife and her Lover") directed this recreation of Charles Darwin's life no less than he would a feature film (anyone who's seen his films would know what I'm talking about).

Darwin's life is meticulously brought back to life via 18 elaborate tableaux. As a somber voice-over narration recites facts about Charles Darwin's life, each segment is shown (filmed in a single, unedited take) with the frame illustrated in sumptuous period set-design, props, attire etc--a multiple visual orgasm, to say the least. Not only is it mere eye candy, it serves the goal of imparting information as any decent documentary aims to do. It considers the various political & religious complications Darwin's theory incited: chiefly the possible breakdown of traditional morals, and the consequent social upheaval--all of which is framed in Greenaway's trademark baroque Mise-en-scene. The lavish theatrical style displayed here will reach its apex with his following feature, the controversial "Baby Of Macon (1993)".

I personally believe the present disillusionment regarding Television could've been avoided if more programs of this caliber were produced (this production was commissioned as part of a French multimedia encyclopedia, but was also shown on Channel Four UK). Unfortunately, at the time of writing, we're cursed with 'reality' TV aided and abetted by a brain-dead audience.


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