8 million years of the human species


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Credited cast:
Pere Arquillué ...
Narrator (voice)
Peter Batakliev ...
Léa-Marie Cantin ...
Emmanuel Charest ...
Hugo Dubé ...
Annie Dufresne ...
Natalie Gagnon ...
Stéphane Gagnon ...
Alain Gendreau ...
Raphael Lajeunesse ...
Gilbert Laplante ...
Johanne Léveillé ...
Vlasta Vrana ...
Antoine Vézina ...


"A Species Odyssey" portrays the origins of Mankind from the moment the first primate stood up on their hind legs and set off to conquer the African Savanna, to modern Man, setting off to conquer space. 7 million years of triumph fraught with difficulties and extraordinary events that make Man what he is today. Written by L.G.

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Release Date:

7 January 2003 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Odisseia da Espécie  »

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Absorbing documentary with some imaginative ideas
18 May 2004 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

If you are wondering why you have a bad back or hip that frequently aches, you may find the reason in the early part of this film.

This ambitious documentary type film unfolds like an illustrated book with millions of years between the chapters. It seems generally agreed that our origins were in Africa where the long trek began.

The theory that our hairy ancestors who raced about on all fours discovered that they could see further by elevating themselves on their hind legs seems reasonable. They were better able to find food, and those that did not, succumbed.

Six million years ago life was not easy nor in the millions of years that followed. It was a question of survival. Eat and drink or die. Early man learned to adapt and his curiosity and search for food took him on a migratory wandering to all corners of the planet.

It is difficult to tell the story of the origin of mankind in less than two hours, but the attempt is quite impressive and the gradual deveopment of man's thinking powers quite absorbing.

It is quite surprising to me how much can be deduced from the shape of a fossilized thighbone or the size of a pelvic bone found in an archeological dig. Apart from expertise in such exercises one would need a well-developed imagination.

The various stages of mankind's development is punctuated with explanations of modern thinking concerning the giant jigsaw of clues about man's past. These interruptions are quite short and the explanations simply put. We are mainly interested however in what is to follow.

The make-up of the naked characters is excellent, the mouth and teeth particularly so. Details relating to head size and gradual reduction of body hair are quite convincing. Did some of the actors play dual roles? I swear I saw the same face millions of years apart!

The grunting, barking and squeaking as a means of communication was a nice touch as individuals bonded together and shared their knowledge of discovery.

It seems to me that the landscapes used in the film are those of to-day. Surely there have been some considerable changes in the last six million years. But that is a minor point.

On the whole a most enjoyable and imaginative presentation especially when we consider that we ourselves are a part of that story linking the past with the millions of years to come.

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