Title: Winged Migration
Director: Jacques Perrin
Running Time: 89 minutes
Winged Migration, a 2002 documentary that was nominated for an Academy Award, is the result of four years of work by Jacques Perrin, a French director with an impressive list of films that he’s either acted in, produced, or directed. The film is set to original music, and there are no special effects.
This documentary is visually stunning with very little narration. I was impressed by the camera angles and could not help but wonder how the camera-operators were able to zoom in so close to flocks of quickly-moving birds while holding the camera steady. Everything was in sharp focus.
The film jumped from continent to continent, as ducks, geese, and other migrating birds made their pilgrimage, traveling great distances. Perrin gives a realistic view of what these birds face, and does not shy away from showing injured or dying birds. Some of this is difficult to watch, especially for younger or more sensitive viewers. I confess I felt uncomfortable at times, and actually had to look away as blue crabs encircled a bird with a broken wing to consume it. Perrin does not glorify these moments, and the camera does not linger too long.
As far as I know, this was the first feature-length documentary about birds (more recently March of the Penguins came out, another great documentary). Winged Migration would be a good addition to any nature-lover’s film library. The film is beautifully done and attacks the senses with exceptional sound quality, breath-taking scenery, and, of course, beautiful birds.
Ranking: 9 out of 10 Feathers.
Reviewer: Snowy Owl