MicroCosmos: Le peuple de l'herbe (1996)
by Jacques Perrin
MICROCOSMOS captures the fun and adventure of a spectacular hidden universe revealed in a breathtaking, close-up view unlike anything you've ever seen. Your family will marvel at a pair of stag beetles dueling like titans. The kids will stare bug-eyed as a magnificent army of worker ants race to stock their larder ... while trying to avoid becoming a feisty pheasant's dinner. And you'll have a front-row seat to witness an amazing transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, the remarkable birth of a mosquito, and several other minute miracles of life. With its tiny cast of thousands, MICROCOSMOS leaves no doubt that "Mother Nature remains the greatest special effects wizard of all" (New York Times).
Microcosmos is one of the most startling movies ever made and its stars are the very creatures that we typically take for granted every day--mosquitoes, ants, dung beetles, snails, water spiders, and many others. Filmed in amazingly clear close-ups, Microcosmos takes us directly into the world of bugs with specially designed equipment that provides images unlike any you've ever seen before. These aren't the typically blurry, narrow field-of-focus shots that you've seen in past documentaries. In Microcosmos, bugs tower over the camera like dinosaurs, teetering and lumbering into view like extras from the cast of Jurassic Park, giving us a peek into a world that we could scarcely imagine before, where ants drink like cattle from a pool of water and drops of rain explode like rounds of mortar fire, where a simple field of grass becomes a huge forest.
Microcosmos is the labor of love of Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou, involving 15 years of research, 2 years of designing equipment (cameras, lights, etc.), 3 years of shooting and 6 months of editing. And the results are easily some of the most extraordinary images ever put on film. We see in startlingly clear close-ups a bewildering array of images. We see bees greedily licking up nectar; snails, like lovers, grasping one another and undulating on a green carpet of moss; wasp pupae, like tiny walruses, flopping inside a hive; a dung beetle busily rolling a dung ball until the ball becomes impaled on a thorn; a pheasant eating ants, their broken bodies tumbling from its mouth and lying on the ground like casualties on a battlefield; a spider dragging air bubbles underwater to form a diving bell-like dining room; two horned beetles clashing like gladiators; an ant drinking from a dew drop on a leaf; an army of caterpillars moving in single file; a mosquito slowly rising from the water and spreading its wings like a goddess in an Arthurian legend.
Microcosmos contains little narration. The emphasis is upon the images themselves, which are presented in short vignettes of one bug and then the next. So don't go to Microcosmos expecting to be led through the scenes by a kindly narrator who provides you with all the inside dope. And don't expect to find a story. Instead, Microcosmos is a showcase of images that allows us a privileged glimpse inside a world that is elusive and mysterious--and a world of extraordinary beauty.
Microcosmos (original title Microcosmos: Le peuple de l'herbe — Microcosmos: The grass people) is a documentary film by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou produced by Jacques Perrin. This film is primarily a record of detailed insect interactions set to the music of Bruno Coulais. Scenes from the film were used in the music video for the single "You Don't Love Me (Like You Used to Do)" from The Philosopher Kings' album Famous, Rich and Beautiful.
Awards and nominations
* César Awards (France)
o Won: Best Cinematography (Thierry Machado, Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou and Hugues Ryffel)
o Won: Best Editing (Florence Ricard and Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte)
o Won: Best Music (Bruno Coulais)
o Won: Best Producer (Jacques Perrin)
o Won: Best Sound (Philippe Barbeau and Bernard Leroux)
o Nominated: Best Film
o Nominated: Best First Work (Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou)
o Nominated: Best Sound (Laurent Quaglio)