Winged Migration

Poster for Winged Migration

Autumn 2003 Edge series

Sunday, September 14, 2003 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated G · 1h 38m

Winged Migration, the Academy Award nominated documentary, invites each of us to be Icarus, to see the world from a perspective nearly divine. Fortunately, this film provides us with more reliable technology than Icarus had. The camera lifts us up and allows us to wheel above the earth and frolic with the birds to our hearts’ content. And what a delightful, inimitable experience it is. In this innovative documentary by Jacques Perrin (who produced the phenomenal Microcosmos, which reinvented the natural science documentary), we follow several species of birds on their arduous, breathtaking seasonal journeys. We dart away from crashing mountains of ice in the Arctic, swoop past the Eiffel Tower, ride the wind above the Manhattan skyline and catch the air currents of Monument Valley. We witness the awesome massing of airborne flocks, each creature attuned to the slightest movement of its companions, and observe details of the virtuoso solo flyer’s age-old combat with gravity. In preparation for the film, the eggs of dozens of species were hatched in the presence of the film crew, chaperoned by a bevy of ornithologists. This enabled the surrogate parents – the filmmakers – to integrate themselves with the birds’ habits, migratory paths and social fabric, and to capture a wealth of stunning close-ups. By the time filming was complete, it was hard to say whether the birds were more convinced they were human, or if the humans had been completely seduced by the birds’ way of life. Undoubtedly, the avian spirit wins out in the film. Shot over three years in more than 40 countries with a crew of approximately 450 people, Winged Migration is a stunning travelogue. Brilliantly edited from over a million feet of rushes, the birds movements and actions create unique personalities for each of them. The birds’ indomitable wanderlust is infectious, their perspective enthralling. The tests of endurance and the adventures they experience draw us into a natural community where actions speak louder than words. This bird’s-eye view of the world is a rare and splendid gift. It allows us to rediscover our planet from an angle far wider and more mobile than our own. For anyone who has ever gazed with envy at a bird in flight, this is a marvelous opportunity to take wing.

“Breathtaking is an inadequate word to describe the series of thrilling, visually cued sensations this film evokes. After recovering from the initial jaw-dropping awe of being positioned vis-a-vis just about every conceivable kind of migrating fowl, one begins to wonder, justifiably, how did they do it?” – Shirley Sealy, Film Journal International

“Perrin’s film assembles discontinuous but overlapping visual wonders into a vaguely mystical ode to the endless variety and timeless rhythms of life.” – Bob Campbell, Newark Star-Ledger

“There are sights here I will not easily forget.” – Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

“Provides such an intense vicarious experience of being a flapping airborne creature with the wind in its ears that you leave the theater feeling like an honorary member of another species.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times