Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5
Original title: La Marche de l’Empereur
France, 2005. National Geographic Films, Bonne Pioche, Wild Bunch, Alliance de Production Cinematographique, Buena Vista International Film Production France, Canal+, L’Institut Polare Français Paul-Émile Victor. Scenario by Luc Jacquet, Adaptation by Luc Jacquet, Michel Fessler, US edited version narration by Jordan Roberts. Cinematography by Laurent Chalet, Jerome Maison. Produced by Yves Darondeau, Christophe Lioud, Emmanuel Priou. Music by Emilie Simon, Alex Wurman. Film Editing by Sabine Emiliani.
Having been given the short shrift in Jacques Perrin’s documentary Winged Migration, the flightless birds of the earth’s coldest shores now have their own star vehicle in this absolutely wonderful documentary. An up close view of the life of Emperor Penguins is described by Morgan Freeman‘s energizing narration (in the English version), showing the extreme challenges that these lovable creatures face in order to prosper and multiply in the world’s harshest climate. Spending months travelling to their breeding grounds, the penguins (who mate monogamously for an entire season before returning to la vida loca) take mates and do their best to produce an egg, after which parenting responsibilities are juggled back and forth between the male and female while the two of them share food recovery duties. Survival is a blessing for these animals, many of whom suffer the wrath of a devastating winter, local predators or the errors of the lesser prepared young parents, but in the end, the miracle of life rules over all. Photographed with breathtaking flair, the dramatic experiences of these creatures will get deep into your heart and you’ll find yourself quite anxious to see them through their ordeals. The French version features narration by Charles Berling, Jules Sitruk, and Romane Bohringer.
Academy Award: Best Documentary Feature