Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
Not for the first time nature surpasses all other spectacles at this year’s Film Festival. This extraordinary new film, from the makers of Microcosmos and Himalaya, takes to the skies and soars with the birds. Five crews of more than 450 people, with 17 pilots and 14 cinematographers, were involved in filming 50 species of bird in flight. The resulting sequences are so close, so immediate, so lacking in artifice, that you would swear they were filmed by another bird. In preparation for the film, the eggs of dozens of species were hatched in the presence of the film crew. This enabled the surrogate parents – the filmmakers – to integrate themselves with the birds’ habits, migratory paths and social fabric, and to capture a wealth of stunning close-ups. Needed for the cinematography were gliders and model gliders, helicopters and model ones, light motorised aircraft, and balloons. The birds were followed to more than 40 countries, including New Zealand where albatrosses were filmed. Not content with the splendour of the birds, the filmmakers followed them through such spectacular settings as Monument Valley, the Amazon, glacial Iceland, and down the East River past Manhattan. There’s no mistaking this big screen event for the nature channel.
“This is awestruck filmmaking at its best… It’s laid out to be impressionistic rather than overtly informative, and yet you still walk away feeling as if you’ve learned something – or at least been privy to certain things you'd never dreamed of seeing.” — Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com