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THE WHITE DIAMOND is a film about the daring adventure of exploring rainforest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr.Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur Falls in the heart of Guyana, hoping to fly his helium-filled invention above the tree-tops. But this logistic effort will not be without risk. Twelve years ago, a similar expedition into the unique habitat of the canopy ended in disaster when Dorrington's friend Dieter Plage fell to his death. With the expedition is Werner Herzog, setting out now with a new prototype of the airship into the Lost World of the pristine rain forest of this little explored area of the world, to record and tell this unique story in an extraordinary, feature-documentary film. Written by
Marc Anthony Yhap:
On this pleasant morning I'm about to fly, and surely I would like to take my rooster with me, but he's somewhere around. I would like to take him on this flight.
Why your rooster?
Marc Anthony Yhap:
Oh, my rooster means so much to me. Early in the morning at 5:30 he crows and then he crows again when there is some change in weather patterns. He's such a lovely guy, my rooster. I would like to take him with me on this voyage. First flight, me in this lovely balloon, this creation.
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In "The White Diamond," famed documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog has fashioned a quirky, visually beautiful tribute to all the risk takers and dreamers who make exploration and discovery possible.
Herzog has chosen for his subject Dr. Graham Dorrington, an aeronautics engineer who has invented a small, helium-powered airship that allows him to fly over and into the canopy of the South American rainforest in order to study the richly varied life forms that inhabit that hitherto unexplored area of the planet's biosphere. Dorrington, who comes across as part humanitarian scientist and part lovable crackpot, is nothing if not eager to share his adventures with Herzog and his crew of brave filmmakers.
Even though there is much of interest in the setting-up stage of the experiment and the short history of aviation Herzog provides at the beginning, the movie itself is almost so lackadaisical in its approach that it often feels unfocused and devoid of passion, but once Dorrington and Herzog himself are airborne, with the camera moving in for unbelievably tight close-ups of the creatures living within the soaring treetops, the movie becomes a treasure trove of rare and wonderful sights that even the least nature-oriented among us will find impossible to forget.
This is one of the least flashy documentary films you will ever see. For despite the very real risks to life and limb involved in the project, this is a work that finds its beauty and drama in the serene majesty of the setting and the elegant simplicity of the airship itself. More mood piece than scientific document, "The White Diamond" should appeal as much to the poet as to the adventurer in all of us.
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