Monday 21 November 2011

Oceans - a film

Oceans was shown today as part of the French Film Festival at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh.

Oceans is a visually stunning documentary of the life to be found in the world's oceans. There are some amazing shots:

shimmering cuttlefish; sea slugs looking like underwater flying carpets; supermodel fish species posing on the coral reefs; enormous blue whales leaping from the sea; sea turtles emerging from their nests and making their way to the sea and having to survive the attacks of frigate birds to get there; a mass mating of crabs; small fish cleaning the teeths of larger fish; an adult walrus cuddling its offspring and many other wonderful sights.

There isn't much narrative and what there is, is unfortunately less impressive than the visuals. On the one hand there is virtually no information in the narrative, so we are not told the species name of anything that appears on screen (now blue whales are probably recognisable to a fair proportion of people prepared to turn up to a French language documentary about sea life, but cuttlefish less so and some of the species of weird looking fish are possibly unknown to all but well informed marine scientists). On the other hand there is a lot of heavy handed environmental preaching in the narrative, which is probably counterproductive. Far better to either have the film with no narrative at all, just beautiful music, or get someone like David Attenborough to do a properly informative voice over.

As ever, red text in this post contains hyperlinks which take you to other websites where you can find out more.


HKatz said...

Looks good. I love watching nature clips of oceans, because aside from how interesting they are they're also generally calming to look at. It's unfortunate they didn't do the narrative well... information about the life forms is good, and so is poetry; the ocean inspires poetry.

Nat Hall said...

I have not seen that one yet, Juliet. It is directed by Jacques Perrin & Jacques Cluzaud, the very same men behind Le Peuple Migrateur and Microcosme. Highly recommended :-)
I love the way they see and film our natural world too, and, sometimes images are as worthy as a thousand words,
even though Sir David A remains a formidable narrator.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Nat, as I said one of my preferences would have been to have the film with no narration at all, because you're right about images vs words

bunnits said...

Would like to see it for the visual experience. I love nature photography and nature films. Unfortunate about the narrative.