The French film WINGED MIGRATION is an extraordinary experience. To call it a mere documentary is misleading because it has everything: drama, adventure, travel, pathos, art, romance, comedy, tragedy and ecstatic beauty that lifts you out of your seat and into the air to fly alongside these unbelievable beings we call birds. Who needs science fiction and digitally created other-worldly creatures when we have such a species living alongside us here on earth and looking down on us from the sky?
Directed by Jacques Perrin, the film took four years to make, using planes, gliders, helicopters and balloons as well as land vehicles and ingenious camera technology to follow the migration of numerous bird species in seven continents and forty countries from the Arctic to the Amazon, flying low over the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, and getting stuck in the oil bogs of industrial wastelands.
There are no special effects and no need for any since those provided by nature are spectacular enough. When the soundtrack is only birds’ cries and other mesmerising environmental sounds it’s wonderful. But the narrator’s heavily French-accented voice is unfortunate, especially since the information he imparts is minimal, and the background music to the birds’ odyssey is an equally poor choice. But the quality of the film overrrides any such minor quibbles. There has never been another movie which allows you to fly close-up, beak to beak, with flesh and blood avian angels whose appearance – whether drop-dead gorgeous, awesome or comical – no designer could have imagined. Nor are we accustomed to seeing our world from a bird’s-eye view and it’s shocking, frightening and breathtakingly stunning. Don’t miss this film even if you have to fly for miles to see it.