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 »
We begin on planet Earth, with a demonstration of measuring distances using triangulation. Then, an imaginary voyage begins from earth to the moon, on to Mars, Saturn, the closest star (... 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 »
The film begins with methodical descriptions of one-dimensional, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional space. It then looks at a two-dimensional world inhabited by flat mice. It imagines ... 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 »
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 »
Here's Professor Painlevé lecturing the class on why rabbits don't grow to the size of elephants and why, despite some engineering calculations, bigger animals are faster than smaller ones.
It's one of at least three short films he did for the Palais de Decourverte at this time, so he's in his dry, lecture mode, with his sense of humor only occasionally and very drily evident, as in such issues as how to stick a rock to a dewdrop. Neither does he ever explain anything, but he never does in any of his movies I have seen; he just shows how and leaves the why to metaphysicians.
Even so, the lack is more evident here, because this is the real world he's discussing, a world of elephants and rabbits and steam engines and men and glasses being filled. It's not enough to know how. Why would be nice. Why, however, is not the subject of science. That's what metaphysicians are for, if they are for anything.
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