Directed by Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debats. Narrated by Jacques Perrin.
After training his cameras on insect life at ground level in 'Microcosmos', Jacques Perrin looks to the skies for 'Winged Migration', a stunning documentary on the mysterious migratory patterns of birds - and perfect fare for an autumnal release.
In a world where cinema-goers are used to computer-generated imagery and trickery, Perrin deemed it necessary to state from the outset that no special effects were used in the making of 'Winged Migration'. Without that disclaimer it would be difficult to believe the evidence on screen was real, so spectacular is the footage gathered by Perrin and his five crews - a total of 450 people - over four years across all continents.
Using remote controlled gliders, balloons, helicopters and a specially developed ultra light motorised aircraft, which gives the cameraman a near-360 degree field of vision, 'Winged Migration' captures the ease and simple beauty of flight, which belies the effort involved. The film captures the migration patterns of hundreds of species across thousands of miles, from Paris to Siberia, taking in the Great Wall of China and the crumbling ice floes of the Arctic.
Eschewing a traditional voice-over narrative for infrequent comments and captions, the focus is all on the breathtaking visuals. There's also a subtle ecological subtext, as the birds follow their predetermined migratory routes, trying to avoid death by misadventure en route.
While allowing the audience to experience the vicarious thrill of flight, 'Winged Migration' manages to overstay its welcome and, towards the end of the 90-minute running time, eclipses its charm with repetition. Having said that, the cinematography and use of suitably epic music ensures that it's a film to be enjoyed by ornithologists and novices alike. A bird's-eye view on the world.