Helaine and I have just returned from the movies where we saw March of the Penguins. It is a French documentary on the life cycle of the Emperor Penguin, which lives in and around Antarctica.
To say this movie is beautifully shot is an understatement. Antarctica and penguins are both quite photogenic. But just shooting it had to be unbelievably difficult.
Early on in the movie Morgan Freeman, the narrator, throws out some numbers relating to wind and temperature. The exact figures really don’t matter, because all you’ll say will be, “Oh my God!”
What the penguins have to do to exist is tough enough – but they’ve evolved for this. The crew that shot the film was not.
Much of the wintertime footage was shot in howling winds and blowing snow. As far as I can see, the severity of the weather was actually played down. You could have accentuated the environment’s wrath, but instead, natural sound was kept to a minimum.
Still, the crew had to spend hours at a time in the wide open. Even when they functioned, how did they get the equipment to follow along?
Spending time, watching the habits of Emperor Penguins, is something I had never done before. They are worthy of a movie. There is compassion and fidelity in the world’s harshest place.