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Winged Migration (2001)

Le peuple migrateur (original title)
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Documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of three years on all seven continents.

Directors:

Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud (co-director) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

Jean Dorst (collaboration), Stéphane Durand | 4 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Philippe Labro Philippe Labro ... Narrator (English version)
Jacques Perrin ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

This documentary follows several species of migratory birds over a four year filming period. These birds travel several hundreds if not thousands of miles toward the equator in the autumn, and make the return journey to their higher latitude summer homes in the spring, always taking the same route, using the natural compasses of the universe, the stars, to find their way. Some species, like the arctic tern, even fly from pole to pole. These long and often torturous treks are a matter of survival, to live in a hospitable climate and find sources of food. With the exception of migratory penguins, travel over oceans is especially difficult as the birds have little refuge unless there is something floating on the water, such as a ship, on which to land. Otherwise they must continue flying until they reach land. Some will not survive the migration due to predators, including man, illness or injury. Although the migrations themselves are done as a community, once the birds reach their ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Germany | Switzerland | Spain | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

29 August 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Winged Migration See more »

Filming Locations:

Monument Valley, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 160,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,402,605 (France), 14 December 2001

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,128, 20 April 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$10,762,178, 14 December 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,217,080, 6 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

DTS-ES | Dolby Digital EX

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jacques Perrin says in his commentary that his team tried to include emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) in the film, but weather conditions interfered, so they had to be satisfied with king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) instead. Some years later, the makers of March of the Penguins (2005) succeeded in making an emperor penguin movie. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: The story of bird migration is the story of promise - a promise to return.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Les clefs de bagnole (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Masters of the Field
Performed by Robert Wyatt
Written By Bruno Coulais, Gabriel Yacoub (Avec l'aimable autorisation de Melodie)
Music Composed and orchestrated by Bruno Coulais
Published by EMI Music Publishing / Galatée Films
(P) & © 2001 Galatée Films
See more »

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User Reviews

 
a rare movie, a spiritual experience
26 April 2005 | by ginahoySee all my reviews

Although much of this film features birds in the wild, most (but not all) of the incredible in-flight photography starred a variety of imprinted birds. These geese, swan and pelicans, raised from birth by the filmmakers, were transported to migratory routes and habitats around the globe to "perform" as if they were actors. Indeed they were!

Some have criticized this approach as somehow undermining the film's credibility. But notwithstanding the film's official classification, Perrin himself doesn't consider his masterpiece as a documentary, but rather an homage to these beautiful creatures. The end result speaks for itself. Winged Migration was simply the most awe-inspiring piece of cinematography I have ever witnessed.

OK, I admit it... to me there's something magical about bonding and flying with large birds, as has been previously depicted in Fly Away Home and The Life of Birds (Part 10). I don't know enough about the arguments against imprinting to defend the practice. But I suspect neither do its critics have specific knowledge of how these birds fared in life. They looked pretty happy to me.

The production itself, documented in the nearly one-hour 'making of' featurette, was a monumental achievement against any yardstick. Perrin and his five crews shot more than 400 kilometers of film (240 hours) on location in forty countries and all seven continents. His team endured the hardships of nature (Hurricane Floyd, blizzards, heat, etc.) and the dangers of flying machines (seven crashes). In order to capture those incredible in-flight sequences, the filmmakers used just about every moving platform one can imagine... from trucks to remote-controlled ATV's, from speedboats to a Navy battleship, from ultralights to powered parachutes, and from gliders to hot-air balloons. Whatever it took.

And finally, Bruno Coulais' moving orchestral score provided the perfect emotional pitch for the cinematography without being overly manipulative. Folks who enjoy new-age genre (think Enya meets Chris Franke) will want to own the soundtrack. It can easily stand on its own.

Le Peuple Migrateur is a rare movie. And for me, a spiritual experience.


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