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The Seahorse (1934)

L'hippocampe, ou 'Cheval marin' (original title)
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 »

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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 ballast. Three fins propel this fish. We see a female place her eggs in a male's pouch where they are fertilized and nurtured until birth in violent contractions. Inside the pouch are nurturing blood vessels. We then follow the growth of an embryo, greatly magnified: we examine its heart beating and its dorsal fin moving. Young sea horses attach themselves to each other. The film ends with images of many sea horses moving on the ocean floor, superimposed on a horse race. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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nature | science | seahorse | See All (3) »

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Documentary | Short

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15 August 2008 (USA)  »

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The Seahorse  »

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(Visatone Sound System)

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1.37 : 1
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Featured in Under the Skin (1997) See more »

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A pioneering scientific film
20 August 2006 | by (France) – See all my reviews

The son of a famous mathematician and politician, Jean Painlevé started his film career while a natural history student at the Sorbonne. Both scientist and filmmaker, one of the first to plunge underwater with a camera to bring the sub-aquatic world to the screen, Painlevé captured the throes of a male seahorse giving birth in this short film. Painlevé was also a photographer (whose pictures are kept in some of the world's most famous art museums), a close friend to genius filmmaker Jean Vigo and belonged to the surrealist movement. His lyrical and instructive animal behavior films were frequently set to avant-garde scores composed by musicians like Darius Milhaud. Needless to say that his films are worth watching not only for their historical interest but also for their strange aesthetics acclaimed by some of his contemporaries like Luis Buñuel.


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