At a marine biology station, a clump of algae reveals polyps, stomachs with limbs, limbs with buds, buds with poison cells. This animal reproduces by buds, which we watch close up in ... See full summary »
We begin on planet Earth, with a demonstration of measuring distances using triangulation. Then, an imaginary voyage begins from earth to the moon, on to Mars, Saturn, the closest star (... See full summary »
An octopus slithers into a narrow crack near the shore; we see its eye up close; blowing water propels it through water. It feeds on a crab. In spring it's time to mate. A male grabs a ... See full summary »
Examines the sea horse, the only fish that swims upright. We watch it use its prehensile tail to wrap around plants and other sea horses. A frontal bulge houses organs including an air ... See full summary »
After a comic introduction, we look closely at a shrimp. Eyes on stilts, color patterns, pinchered walking feet, a rostrum. We watch shrimp eat using a strong claw and a fine one; we watch ... See full summary »
An enthusiastic grandfather sits with children in a Parisian park talking about pigeons. First. their physical appearance - eye, wings and tail, and color - and their varieties. Then, he ... See full summary »
In mud flats along the coast of Brittany we watch acera, small ball-shaped mollusks that are about two inches in diameter. They rest in mud; then, in water, they dance, their skirt-like ... See full summary »
In close-ups and extreme close-ups, we watch two small species of marine crustaceans, the slender long-legged stenorhynchus and the clumsy, short-legged hyas. To blend in, both cover ... See full summary »
A close-up look at sand urchins and rock urchins. At the seashore, a man digs up a sand urchin. We look closely. He sets it back in the sand, and it burrows out of sight. Its intestines ... See full summary »
In a freshwater pond, it's "eat or be eaten." A dragonfly larva eats a midge; a water beetle larva eats a damselfly larva. Snail larvae grow. A beetle larva eats one. Up close, we see the eating apparatus of a damselfly larva -- with a retractable hook beneath mandibles. Some creatures bite and chew, others suck. A water beetle larva holds on to its prey, injects a poison that turns the victim's insides to soup, and then sucks it dry. We watch one eat a damselfly larvae and then another water beetle larva. Some have ingenious ways to camouflage themselves, like the water scorpion, and to breathe air while hunting under water. Caddisfly larvae hide in debris, then eat. Written by
"Assassins d'eau douce" or "Freshwater Assassins" is a black-and-white documentary that runs for slightly under half an hour and it is one of filmmaker Jean Painlevé's longer works. There is no denying he was a pioneer when it comes to the genre of animal documentary and he made this one here shortly after World War II. It is in french like his other works, so if you really want to understand every bit of it, you may need a good pair of subtitles. I personally have some of his work and found this one not too interesting. But that is just subjective as the animals depicted in here, mostly water creatures, but no fish, aren't something I am too interested in. Still there are a couple decent video recordings as usual with Painlevé, so it's not a failure at all. It is also pretty brutal again in terms of animal violence among each other.
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