7.9/10
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47 user 48 critic

Microcosmos (1996)

Microcosmos: Le peuple de l'herbe (original title)
A documentary on insect life in meadows and ponds.
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8 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Récitant / Narrator (French version) (voice)
... Narrator (English version) (voice)
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Storyline

A documentary of insect life in meadows and ponds, using incredible close-ups, slow motion, and time-lapse photography. It includes bees collecting nectar, ladybugs eating mites, snails mating, spiders wrapping their catch, a scarab beetle relentlessly pushing its ball of dung uphill, endless lines of caterpillars, an underwater spider creating an air bubble to live in, and a mosquito hatching. Written by Will Gilbert

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15 years of research. 2 years of equipment design. 3 years of shooting. One great movie to restore your sense of wonder. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

6 September 1996 (Switzerland)  »

Also Known As:

Microcosmos  »

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Box Office

Budget:

CHF 5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$35,189, 13 October 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,573,842, 2 February 1997
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| (Miramax)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Trivia

Filmed over a period of three years. See more »

Crazy Credits

In the end credits: Le Conseil Général de L'Aveyron and SIVOM des Monts et Lacs du Lévezou extend the adventure in the world of insects at the Jean-Henri Fabre Center of Saint-Léons in Lévezou, opening in 1998. See more »

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Actually, a hint or two would have helped
27 July 1999 | by See all my reviews

It was undeniably beautiful. Take a meadow in France that appears to consist of nothing but grass, and show us what wonders there are to be seen if you lower your eyes and look at the very very small...

Insects (and arachnids and teensy molluscs) offer a possible advantage over, say, lions; in that with insects, cinematography really comes into its own. If you want to show a lion catching an antelope then you have to point your camera at a likely spot and wait and wait and wait until the event occurs; and when it does, chances are that the lighting is at its worst, the background is less than ideal and you would have got a better view from somewhere else. The world of the tiny gives the fellow with the camera much more control, much more room to manoeuvre. It's much easier to hit upon the perfect angle from which to show the spider eating the grasshopper. I don't know if this is true; but it's one possible explanation for why the shots are so gorgeous, and why we feel we were given the best possible seats.

But if you find yourself asking, "What the hell was going on?" - well, you shouldn't have to ask. You should have been told. One of the reasons (I hope) for watching what is after all a documentary, is to find out WHAT GOES ON in an ordinary meadow; and if the producer thought that a human voice would destroy the sibylline loveliness of it all, that's just too bad - film-making isn't all pretty pictures. If you don't want David Attenborough doing the talking (although frankly, I don't see why you wouldn't), then find someone else or some other style of narration; or, perhaps, take more care to arrange the images so that the images themselves tell the story. I'm sure it could have been done. As it was I got the impression that we were shown ants getting hit by raindrops until they thought we must be tired of ants - and then we were shown something else.

I don't want to carp too much. The makers could well retort that books, rather than films, are ideally suited to explanation, and that they had simply made a film for us to watch AFTER we had read the relevant books. Perhaps they have a point. At any rate, we may remain in the dark, but we have a wonderful view.


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