Winged Migration (Le Peuple Migrateur) (2003)

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Though heavily staged, “Winged Migration” gives us a rare and never before seen glimpse into nature and the life cycle and migratory patterns of birds seeking shelter and struggling to survive amidst the common enemy known as Man. Done in a period of four years, “Winged Migration” features a team of incredibly gifted and brilliant Cinematographers that so eloquently capture the essence of the landscapes presented within the hunting and scavenging of these incredible species that it becomes such a thrill to watch.

Surprisingly, there were barely any special effects used for the filming, and it becomes hard to believe when watching such incredible direction while following the birds while they flew in packs. The birds themselves are interesting and fascinating that they, themselves manage to draw crowds in and put on shows that make the time go by while watching. We witness some incredible marvels of nature including penguins struggling to jump ashore the arctic, hawks hunting along the desert, and a bald eagle soaring along the mountains. As in all of these documentaries, Man is a common enemy and obstacle to the flight and journey of the birds as they’re constantly shot down by hunters, nearly run over by cars and machines, and almost drowned in sludge.

Writers Stéphane Durand, Jacques Perrin, and Francis Roux spark some truly fascinating narratives that help to describe the struggles given to the flocks of birds. Narrator Jacques Perrin doesn’t clog up the film with pompous and over-thought narrations, yet relies simply on his incredible direction as a self-explanatory guide and only interjects with narration when absolutely necessary. the birds in this documentary pretty much give the audience a show to watch through hunting skillfully swooping in on prey, and scavenging along fields and trees, and resting occasionally on human landmarks as jet harriers, and beaches along the shores of beach houses. “Winged Migration” is craftily edited and staged, but still works as an entertaining, and visually stunning documentary.