Truly original works of cinematography are very rare, but this film by Gregory Colbert, with its superb filming, exquisite modelling – especially of the human form, expressive dances and interactions, and evocative poetry manages to be just that, and produces a memorable filmatic experience.
The film features Buddhist monks amongst temple ruins in Myanmar, and floating on lakes with elephants; sea divers interacting with large fish; dancers alongside gentle elephants; Nomads with leopards and other cats in the deserts of southern Africa, and much, much more. Each scene is like a tableau that could also have been a photograph.
There is no narration as such, though there are a number of readings from poetic letters said to have been written after one year’s silence. These are poetic evocations than enhance the visuals just as much as the ambient music that shades the film throughout.
The film is part of a traveling installation by the artist that has shown in various places throughout the world. Entitled the Nomadic Musem, it has been visited by over 10m people, making it one of the most successful and widely viewed artistic endeavours in modern times.
Besides being a stunning work of art though, Colbert has been working for decades now to raise awareness about ecological matters, especially how humans are embedded in nature, and the film really reflects these ideas. This is a very sensitive film that will live with you for a long time.
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