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Ashes and Snow (2005)

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 2,347 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 4 critic

Exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals.

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Ashes and Snow, a film by Gregory Colbert, uses both still and movie cameras to explore extraordinary interactions between humans and animals. The 60-minute feature is a poetic narrative rather than a documentary. It aims to lift the natural and artificial barriers between humans and other species, dissolving the distance that exists between them. Written by Ashes and Snow

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5 March 2005 (USA)  »

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Ashes and Snow  »

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Narrator: Feather to fire, fire to blood, blood to bone, bone to marrow, marrow to ashes, ashes to snow...
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User Reviews

 
Amazing on so many levels
22 January 2008 | by (California) – See all my reviews

I went to the opening of the Ashes & Snow exhibit when it arrived in Santa Monica, Ca. As the Nomadic Museum was being assembled (basically large cargo containers stacked upon one another), my friends and I thought it was going to be some sort of Cirgue De Soleil spin off, since that's what had been set up in the same spot the years before. We couldn't have been more wrong.

Just before the show opened, someone told me about the website (ashesandsnow.com). I was amazed by what I saw and couldn't wait for the show's opening. When the day finally came, I was mesmerized by each image as it hung in the immense gallery, which I think was designed to give you the sense of walking among elephants. Some of the images are so bold though, with the interaction between man and animal, that you start to believe that they were digitally manipulated. Then I walked into the center section of the gallery and saw the film. It was just as awe inspiring as the images and left no doubt that each image was captured as it the scenes were choreographed.

Being a photographer myself, I can say that the exposures, the compositions, the cinematography, the moods created, the toning, etc, were all absolutely perfect. I've been shooting for years and know how difficult it is to get EVERYTHING to work in coordination to create a memorable image. It's hard enough to get it all to work together in a controlled environment, but Gregory Colbert shot the majority of the images with animals. On top of that, he shot underwater, with whales, elephants and manatees, creating some of the most unique images I've ever seen.

Beyond the technical aspect of the film though is the incredible harmony that you see between man and animal. For one reader to suggest that the animals were "in distress" is absolutely ludicrous. You don't see that here. You also don't see animals that resemble circus creatures that have been beaten into submission. Instead, what you see is humans that live in peace with the animals from their native land. You see an incredible respect for the animals and a gentleness that put the animals at ease. It's a thing of beauty.

Deeper still is the message behind the film and the images. Both Laurence Fishburne and Ken Wantanabbe have the perfect voice to narrate Colbert's story of a man who left all that he knew, in order to find himself in distant lands. The revelations that he discovers along the way are what we get to see in the images that were produced. Watch the film, listen to the words, and then watch the film again, and again, and again. In it, you'll see a man's dreams, visions, heart break and redemption. You'll see the journey he took and the worlds that he saw, not only on the outside, but inwardly as well. You'll hear his message of love and see that ultimately, the film is not about animals at all...but instead about us.

It is a masterpiece, and it is an experience.


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