Producer: Jacques Perrin
Premiered: 2003; available on DVD
This spectactular documentary about the migratory patterns of birds did find its way onto a few movie theater screens across the country during 2003, but now it's on DVD. Finding it is definitely worth the search. Winged Migration is a wonderful film you'll watch again and again.
With an amazing dedication to depicting the actual flights and migrations of more than twenty different species of birds, French filmmaker Jacques Perrin and some 450 collaborators spent three years filming flight from the birds' perspective. The result is awesome, lyrical, exhilirating, and exciting, all at the same time. In all, five film crews, including 17 pilots and 14 cinematographers, used planes, gliders, helicopters, and balloons to fly beside, above, below, and in front of a variety of birds in their typical migratory flights over each of the seven continents. As a viewer, all you need to remember is that you're watching real birds in flight, not animated characters. Let yourself float along with them.
The DVD provides a real feast. Along with the ninety-minute documentary, you'll also find an incredible "Making of..." feature that shows the lengths to which the cinematographers went to produce a film that portrayed the rigors of migratory flight as accurately as possible. And yet, it's also an engrossing experience. Another engaging DVD feature shows how the mystical music and soundtrack were created. A photo gallery with filmmaker commentary is included, as are the standard trailers, filmmaker interviews, menus, a scene selection list, and a link to the movie's fascinating website. Bonus items on the DVD are in French with English subtitles.
Nominated for a Best Documentary Academy Award, media critics everywhere raved about the beauty and power of Winged Migration. But don't take anyone's word for it. Check out the film yourself and you'll be richly rewarded.