Saturday, August 20, 2005

March of the Penguins (La Marche de l'empereur)

This film is a celebration of life, love, danger and death, as seen through the eyes of Emperor Penguins in the Antarctica. Most people will come to know of this documentary from its quiet successful ascension on the American Box Office.

** For those who do not want to know the story, you may skip this part **

We follow the penguins in their annual ritual in making life, beginning with long marches on ice to their mating ground. There, there look for their partners, and begin their "one night stand". The eggs are laid, and the moms go off to gather food their future chicks, while the dads stay behind to look after the eggs and shield them from the cold.

When the chicks hatch, the moms will have returned, and begin their feeding, while it's dads turn to go fish. It's like an interchanging of roles between mom and dad in taking care of the little one, until such time when they've grown and can hit the ocean waters to begin their own life.


3 different narrators tell the story from different perspectives - the father, mother and child, Peppered throughout and assisting the narrative are the English songs (in a French movie, which seemed a bit odd), and the stunning cinematography will leave many speechless.

You will ponder at the wonders of nature and life itself, with these penguins undergoing their rituals and knowing exactly what to do during certain times. Instinct? Probably. The theme of Danger and Death lurks at every corner, ever ready to pounce. As in the movie, you'll never know when to expect when Death strikes, though most of the violence happen off screen, and probably not as violent as what you can view on the Discovery Channel.

It's a refreshing change to watch a documentary during this busy August and fall in love with the penguin chicks. I know many in the audience did.

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