In mud flats along the coast of Brittany we watch acera, small ball-shaped mollusks that are about two inches in diameter. They rest in mud; then, in water, they dance, their skirt-like ...
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An octopus slithers into a narrow crack near the shore; we see its eye up close; blowing water propels it through water. It feeds on a crab. In spring it's time to mate. A male grabs a ... See full summary »
A close-up look at sand urchins and rock urchins. At the seashore, a man digs up a sand urchin. We look closely. He sets it back in the sand, and it burrows out of sight. Its intestines ... See full summary »
An enthusiastic grandfather sits with children in a Parisian park talking about pigeons. First. their physical appearance - eye, wings and tail, and color - and their varieties. Then, he ... See full summary »
In close-ups and extreme close-ups, we watch two small species of marine crustaceans, the slender long-legged stenorhynchus and the clumsy, short-legged hyas. To blend in, both cover ... See full summary »
At a marine biology station, a clump of algae reveals polyps, stomachs with limbs, limbs with buds, buds with poison cells. This animal reproduces by buds, which we watch close up in ... See full summary »
After a comic introduction, we look closely at a shrimp. Eyes on stilts, color patterns, pinchered walking feet, a rostrum. We watch shrimp eat using a strong claw and a fine one; we watch ... See full summary »
Titles in French and English help us know what we're seeing. In all waters, daphnia abound. They are crustaceans about 2 ml long, with one eye that turns in all directions. Antennae enable ... See full summary »
In mud flats along the coast of Brittany we watch acera, small ball-shaped mollusks that are about two inches in diameter. They rest in mud; then, in water, they dance, their skirt-like hood spreading like a dervish's cassock. They spin and spin. The film adds musical accompaniment. We watch them mate and secrete eggs: acera are both male and female, and can form chains with other acera in which they simultaneously mate as a male and as a female. The eggs hatch, and the cycle begins again.Written by
In the mud flats off the coast of Brittany, sea slugs dance as part of their courtship.
Co-directors Geneviève Hamon and Jean Painlevé filmed these creatures with their weird dances that remind me of very early movies like BUTTERFLY DANCE, to modernistic music by Pierre Jansen and André Girard. The film makers use about half the movie to show these surprisingly graceful dances, then get on with the business of reproduction. Acera is a hermaphroditic creature, which means it is simultaneously male and female, resulting in some very complicated grouping.
Although Painlevé had been making movies about sea life since the middle of the 1920s, often with a dark sense of humor, this one is far more of a feast of visual beauty: the grace of the slugs' dance, the motility of their eggs and juvenile form. To study well, you must be interested, and the weird beauty of these creatures' movement is captivating.
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