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Past Films

Microcosmos (1996)

  • Director(s): Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou
  • Genre(s): Documentary, Nature
  • Rating: G
  • Running Time: 80 min.

These FREE screenings are part of MOXIE FLIX, a monthly series focusing on essential films for kids to see before they turn 13.

Film Summary: This fascinating documentary offers a unique look into the daily dramas played out amongst the tiny residents of a French country meadow. It is shot without dialogue and begins with an aerial view of the meadow and then drops wildly down amongst the herbs and soil of the meadow where the stage is set. Using specially designed cameras and lighting equipment, the filmmakers Claude Nuridsany (who also did the extraordinary filming) and Marie Perennou spent three years creating this single day. Utilizing astounding close ups, they give the viewer a bug’s eye view where water drops are the size of planets, and grass blades become alien skyscrapers. At this level, the bugs themselves take on an unearthly appearance, as if they were the giants, not us. Among the things depicted are a caterpillar’s transformation into a butter fly, a dirigible sized bee in flight, and the gentle, passionate lovemaking of snails. In the cycle of life and death, a spider makes a gruesome meal of two grasshoppers, and a determined dung beetle futilely attempts to roll a large prize up a steep slope. A tremendous thunderstorm temporarily disrupts the meadow and then as the day turns to evening, the nocturnal insects slowly emerge for the night shift. The film is suitable for families and features an eclectic soundtrack with numbers ranging from opera to New Age music to high-light the action.

A thorough, spoiler-filled Parent’s Guide can be found here.

Made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Missouri Arts Council.

"Beautiful and original."
- Neil Jeffries, Empire
"A movie with a quirky vision."
- Andy Seiler, USA Today
"Microcosmos is in a category of its own. There is no other film like it. "
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"This French documentary offers a miraculous you-are-there close-up of the insect kingdom, a world of such teeming beauty and sophistication it suggests a sci-fi zooscape designed by Dr. Seuss."
- Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"The movie is a work of art and whimsy as much as one of science. It uses only a handful of words, but is generous with music and amplified sound effects, dramatizing the unremitting struggle of survival that goes on in a meadow in France."
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times