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Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts

Jul 29, 2019

America Wild: National Parks Adventure (2016)


The power of America's national parks is undeniable. Millions have packed up the family to hike through impossibly lush forests, to gaze upon towering cliffs and deep-plunging canyons, to witness the breathtaking arcs of natural history, and, most of all, to share moments of wonder amid the protected treasures of this land. A MacGillivray Freeman film produced in association with Brand USA and narrated by Academy Award (R) winner Robert Redford, National Parks Adventure is acclaimed filmmaker Greg MacGillivray's most visually ambitious giant-screen film to date-a film that offers not only a sweeping overview of the national parks' history, but is equal parts adrenaline-pumping odyssey and soulful reflection on what the wilderness means to us all.

Jul 26, 2019

Under an Arctic Sky (2017)


Six surfers set sail along the frozen shores of Iceland, knowing that the worst storm to hit the country in twenty-five years is about to arrive. Enduring constant darkness and stormy seas, they discover perfect waves and make history by surfing under the northern lights.

Jul 16, 2019

My Country No More (2018)



Between 2011 and 2016, oil drilling in rural North Dakota reached its peak, setting off a modern-day gold rush in the quiet, tight-knit farm town of Trenton, North Dakota, population less than 1000. With billions of dollars to be gained in an industry-friendly state with a “reasonable regulation” climate, small towns like Trenton became overwhelmed by an influx of workers, and countless acres of farmland were repurposed for industrial development. Through the voices of Trenton’s residents, My Country No More challenges the notion of “progress” and questions the long-term human consequences of short-term approaches to land use, decisions that ultimately affect all Americans, rural and urban alike.

Jul 1, 2019

Attenborough's Life That Glows (2016)



Life That Glows is a 2016 British nature documentary programme made for BBC Television, first shown in the UK on BBC Two on 9 May 2016. The programme is presented and narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Life That Glows films the biology and ecology of bioluminescent organisms, that is, capable of creating light.

Jun 26, 2019

The Age of Stupid (2009)



Oscar-nominated actor Pete Postlewaite stars in this cautionary look at our changing climate, and what could become of our world should we continue to ignore the warning signs and stop global warming while we still have the chance. The year is 2055, and in a world devastated by mankind's lack of foresight, one lone sole (Postlewaite) seeks the answer to why we let our planet fall to ruin. Looking over archive footage from the year 2007, he sees everyone talking about the damaging effects of global warming, but no one bothering to take the action required to reverse the troubling trend.

Apr 19, 2019

Baraka (1992)


Named after a Sufi word that translates roughly as breath of life or blessing, Baraka is Ron Fricke's impressive follow-up to Godfrey Reggio's non-verbal documentary film Koyaanisqatsi. Fricke was cinematographer and collaborator on Reggio's film, and for Baraka he struck out on his own to polish and expand the photographic techniques used on Koyaanisqatsi.

The result is a tour-de-force in 70mm: a cinematic guided meditation (Fricke's own description) shot in 24 countries on six continents over a 14-month period that unites religious ritual, the phenomena of nature, and man's own destructive powers into a web of moving images.

Fricke's camera ranges, in meditative slow motion or bewildering time-lapse, over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Ryoan-Ji temple in Kyoto, Lake Natron in Tanzania, burning oil fields in Kuwait, the smoldering precipice of an active volcano, a busy subway terminal, tribal celebrations of the Masai in Kenya, chanting monks in the Dip Tse Chok Ling monastery...and on and on, through locales across the globe. To execute the film's time-lapse sequences, Fricke had a special camera built that combined time-lapse photography with perfectly controlled movements.

Apr 16, 2019

Coral Reef Adventure (2003)


Whether you are a diving enthusiast, love to snorkel in the sea, or are simply fascinated by all things ocean, Coral Reef Adventure, directed by Greg MacGillivray, is a treat not to be missed. It is filmed in the South Pacific, in such familiar places as the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti and Fiji. There are colorful coral formations, scads of fish schooling and darting about, animals that are shy and hiding, and others that are very curious. However, this documentary isn't just about eye-candy, it is also educational.

Coral, a living animal, depends on a certain type of algae to survive. The algae utilize photosynthesis to provide energy, or food, for the living coral. When the environment throws out a curve ball in the form of change in water temperature, hurricanes, alterations in the amount of available sunlight, or differences in the acidity of the surrounding water, bleaching can occur. And bleaching, if prolonged can be fatal!

Another destination in the film is Rangiroa, an atoll. For those of us who have forgotten, an atoll is a ring of raised coral that totally or partially surrounds a lagoon. Now imagine what the prolonged destruction of the living coral of the atoll would mean to those living upon it? Not only would there be environmental loss, the fish they depend on for food would be gone too. What took hundreds to thousands of years to build could be wiped out in, what could be considered, the blink of an eye.

But do corals only live in the warm, shallow waters of the tropics? New technology now allows scientists to peek into depths not available to normal scuba divers. The ocean, with the myriad of life it supports, is full of surprises. Filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall take their cameras down to what is known as the Twilight Zone, where sunlight is scarce to nonexistent. What will we discover? What impact will it have upon our world? And you can be sure that, as even more technology becomes available, what is considered "the final frontier" on earth will ultimately be examined.

Apr 15, 2019

Galapagos (2006)


Follow the filmmakers from the Smithsonian Institute on a visual journey through the lush Pacific Ocean paradise that is home to some of the most precious flora and fauna on the planet. Scattered across the equator, this largely unexplored series of volcanic islands is host to a stunning array of endangered species that remain virtually unknown outside of the archipelago.

Darwin came up with his theory of evolution after contemplating variations in the bodies of birds and land animals isolated for millennia on the islands. But the real focal point of this film lies deep in the islands' waters, where Darwin never got to explore.

Because of currents flowing back and forth between the islands and the Ecuadoran mainland, the evolutionary separateness of the sea creatures (as compared to the land-dwellers) has been diminished, but they are marvelous nevertheless.

MicroCosmos (1996)


Utilizing special macroscopic photographic techniques, filmmakers Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou created this fascinating and visually spectacular look at the hidden worlds in the life cycle of an ordinary meadow in France. When seen through the lens of Nuridsany and Perennou's cameras, insects become gigantic beasts, blades of grass turn into towering monuments, and raindrops form puddles that resemble vast oceans.

The filmmakers find humor, drama, and beauty in the lives of these tiny flora and fauna as caterpillars transform themselves into butterflies, beetles struggle with their day's foraging, and snails reproduce their species. Microcosmos was a multiple prize winner at the 1996 French Academy of Cinema Awards; the American release version features narration by actress Kristin Scott Thomas.

The U.S. distributor of this movie has foolishly decided to market it as a kid's entertainment, in the apparent belief that no reasonable number of adults could possibly be interested, much less spellbound, by a beautifully written and narrated and vividly shot documentary about a fascinating and overlooked segment of the natural world.

In concept, content, and delivery, this title is heads and shoulders above the day-to-day fare regularly offered, and consumed by adults, on the cable television channels.

Directed by: Claude Nuridsany, Marie PĂ©rennou

Mountain of Ice (2003)


In this episode of NOVA, Conrad Anker leads an expedition to climb the highest mountain peak in Antarctica: Vinson Massif. Anker was joined by author Jon Krakauer, guide Dave Hahn, glaciologist Dan Stone, extreme skier Andrew McLean, NOVA producer Liesl Clark, and a three-person camera crew. This eight-person team survived through powerful winds and extreme temperatures to capture high-definition footage of this mostly unexplored area of Antarctica.

Their successful journey in 2001 is compared with other historical attempts to scale the mountain. Mountain of Ice was originally broadcast on PBS February 11, 2003.

NOVA delivers another fantastic show with this Antarctic expedition to one of the Seven Summits! Granted, I am already a big fan of NOVA, let alone when they cover my favorite topics (mountaineering!) Featuring Conrad Anker, Jon Krakauer, Dave Hahn, and assorted crew, they lug hundreds of pounds of gear up a new route on the east side of Vinson Massif, which, at a gain of over 12,000 feet (to a final altitude of 16,077 feet,) is no small task.

Everest: The Death Zone (1998)


Because it is there is the reason so many men and women have risked death to climb Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on earth. NOVA follows a scientific investigation of high-altitude physiology in Everest: The Death Zone, which examines the biological and psychological changes experienced by a group of climbers during their ascent. Jodie Foster's narration accompanies the team as the NOVA photographers capture the stark, alien beauty of the mountain; the drama reaches a crescendo on the descent as it becomes unclear whether or not an ill climber will make it.

Well worth watching by anyone interested in mountain climbing or the limits of human endurance, Everest: The Death Zone is at once cautionary and inspiring. Get ready for a (literally) breathtaking trek up Mt. Everest, from Base Camp at 17,600 feet; through the chilling, corpse-strewn Death Zone; to the very pinnacle of the the Earth, five and a half miles above sea level. For those brave souls who survive the harrowing climb to the top of the world, it is a transformative experience.


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