8:00 PM, 6th November, 2004
The plot of Himalaya is simple - upon the death of their chief, a small Tibetan village must find a new leader for the yak caravan, the annual trading run through the dangerous, snow-covered mountains of the title. Tinle (Lhondup) and Karma (Kyap) both believe that they are the best for the task, and insist on leading their own caravans.
But the storyline is not the centrepiece of this film - it is simply a skeleton around which former National Geographic photographer Valli builds a study of this alien world. There are no professional actors, and it is likely many of those onscreen would have great difficulty comprehending the idea of a film industry if it was explained to them. Seeing this culture, so untouched by modern influence, is certainly an intriguing experience. Combined with the stunning cinematography of some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet, this is certainly a film worth experiencing.
10:08 PM, 6th November, 2004
The tagline for this movie was "Jurassic Park in your own back yard" - however, I'd say they sold themselves short. The photography in this movie is so much better than anything Jurassic Park had to offer. Given that it took 15 years of research, 2 years of equipment design and 3 years of shooting, it is no wonder that the cinematography is outstanding.
Microcosmos is a documentary shot mostly in a French meadow, using incredible close-ups, slow motion, and time-lapse photography. The cast consists of insects, spiders and snails going about their daily business, dealing with everyday problems such as huge raindrops or bits of dung that need pushing. I'll never forget the snail love scene - fascinating and disturbing at the same time!
One criticism that some have of the film is that there is very little narration, so the audience can be left wondering what they are looking at in some scenes. Personally I prefer this approach, as it draws you further into the world of the bugs.
Even if you don't appreciate documentaries, I would still recommend this as a film to see. Nothing artificially produced by Hollywood special effects can come close to this jaw dropping reality.