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At the end of each Antarctic summer, the emperor penguins of the South Pole journey to their traditional breeding grounds in a fascinating mating ritual that is captured in this documentary by intrepid filmmaker Luc Jacquet. The journey across frozen tundra proves to be the simplest part of the ritual, as after the egg is hatched, the female must delicately transfer it to the male and make her way back to the distant sea to nourish herself and bring back food to her newborn chick. Written by
"The March of the Penguins" has to be one of the most beautiful documentaries in recent memory. Luc Jacquet, its director, takes us on trip to Antarctica where we are introduced to the majestic Emperor penguins. Mr. Jacquet and his cinematographers, Laurent Chalet and Jerome Maison, have done the impossible task to capture these penguins in their own habitat under conditions that seem almost humanly impossible to live, let alone take this team to register it for us, the viewers in all its splendor and bleakness.
The Emperor penguins have to be the most elegant birds on this planet. They have such a noble way of standing and shuffling in almost perfect lines from the sea to the area where they will mate, hatch their eggs, and then have the females leave for the sea to feed themselves and bring back food for the new chicks. After that is accomplished, it's the males turn to do their march back to the sea to feed and fortify themselves, returning to the hatching and mating area. What makes these penguins so unique is the sense of family they project at all times.
Mr. Jacquet makes it clear for us to understand the behavior of the Emperors in their hostile environment. The English version has the clear narration by Morgan Freeman who expands on the way these birds live and how they are able to survive under extreme conditions. From what I have read about the documentary, the English version, which we are seeing in this country, has a musical score by Alex Wurman, that enhances the movie in unexpected ways.
Antarctica, that icy white vastness at the end of the world, has never looked more majestic than in this documentary. Thanks to Luc Jacquet we are enlightened by all what we learn about the Emperors as they endure and survive under the worst possible circumstances and remain the graceful figures they are. Watching "The March of the Penguins" feels, at times, like being at the ballet watching a magical dance performed by these flightless birds that manage to look so dignified all the time while doing for us their amazing dance of survival.
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