Release Date: June 7th, 2006 (Film Forum)
Directed by Nicholas Philibert.
In French with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary showing the reopening and renovation process of the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Preceded by Ice/Sea, which Vivian Ostrovsky directs.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Director Nicholas Philibert, who also directed the brilliant documentary To Be and To Have , focuses on the complicated process of stuffing, re-painting and re-feathering a variety of animals for display at the Museum of Natural History. Admittedly, documentary should have been called Animals, More Animals, and Insects, too because from scene-to-scene, there are simply more and more animals—and insects too. As you watch these organisms get specially-treated by artists, it’s interesting to notice how you lifelike they become just by simple features added, such as eyes. One particular scene with spiders on display is excruciating to watch for those who have trepidation for spiders. Eventually, the documentary feels a bit tedious to watch—after an overdose, so-to-speak, of animals. Vivian Ostrovsky’s brief documentary Ice/Sea includes lively footage of humans, animals, mammals, and birds—such as penguins, which have been getting quite popular since March of the Penguins. Ostrovsky has fun with editing some of the images to add some bizarrely comical special effects. It’s quite fascinating to watch the way she unifies humans and organisms such as by showing both of them swimming in the same manner.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: Lively and somewhat fascinating, but ultimately forgettable.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "A" Menu