Winged Migration | Chicago Reader

Winged Migration

This up-close avian travelogue from producer Jacques Perrin (Microcosmos, Himalaya) is the most astounding cinematic testament to flock mentality since Hitchcock's The Birds. With a team that included 12 cinematographers, Perrin traversed the globe between 1998 and 2001, filming dozens of bird species (bald eagles, arctic terns, red-crowned cranes) on their arduous annual migrations. Shots from gliders, helicopters, and ultralight motorized aircraft simulate not only a bird's-eye view but the exhilaration of traveling in a flying V. A paean to a primal urge, this 2001 French feature is packed with suspense (a lone bird trying to locate its fellows), drama (penguins protecting their chicks from albatrosses), and violence (an army of crabs converging on an injured gull). Following these creatures on a large screen is the next best thing to having one's own wings.

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