Winged Migration

Rated: G
English Narration:   Jacques Perrin
Director:   Jacques Perrin
Screenwriters:   Jean Dorst, Stephane Durand, Guy Jarry, Jacques Perrin, Francis Roux

In this Oscar-nominated nature documentary, French director Jacques Perrin and his filmmaking teams spent three years traveling through 40 countries and all seven continents capturing the migratory patterns of birds.

The film is chock full of fantastic, never before seen footage of birds, some of which travel thousands of miles in the course of a year in order to live, eat and breed. The cinematography is breathtakingly accompanied by soaring, inspirational music (score by Bruno Coulais who also composed the music for Perrin’s insect documentary called Microcosmos.) What’s sadly lacking is the kind of narration that would educate more fully. Still, what’s revealed in imagery from five film crews and more than 450 people, including 17 pilots and 14 cinematographers is absolutely astounding.

Aided by remote control gliders and ultra-light aircraft, the camera flies next to, above and beneath many species of migrating birds who appear unaware of this special attention. Some species fly more than 10,000 miles in a round trip from the tropics to the Arctic.

From the sparse narration we do learn some basic facts, that birds are guided by an inate radar and that subsequent generations must learn the ropes, including the ability to identify landmarks along the route, from their elders. Through all the beauty of the birds and natural glories shown here comes a final reminder, that migration is a matter of survival and some don’t make it, whether it’s because of predators or man’s folly, like the sludge he dumps at a factory site.

Lotta says:  Truly worth seeing.

Studio:  Sony Pictures Classics
Production Companies: President Films, Galatee Films, France 2 Cinema, France 3 Cinema, Bac Films, Les Productions de la Gueville, Pandora Films, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Filmstiftung NRW, Wanda Vision, Les Productions JMH, Television Suisse Romande, Eyescreen, Lucky Red

Reviewed: November 2003