Thank you Netflix! Microcosmos

The other day I walked into the living room and saw some amazing close-up shots of insects on the television -- my wife was watching something pretty cool-looking. "What is this?" I excitedly asked.

Image from the film "Microcosmos"

"It's called 'Microcosmos' -- Netflix recommended it to us." Aside from the fact that we are still trying to figure out how this recommendation was made ("Oh, you recently watched Portlandia, The Tudors, and Star Trek -- you may like this Nature documentary about insects"), we're very glad that it was.

(All images in this post are from the movie, screengrabs taken from YouTube. They are not my images.)


This French film by Claude Nuridsany and Marie PĂ©rennou was released in 1996, but could have just been released yesterday. It looks so fresh, and in HD is just amazing.

The bulk of the film contains close-up looks at various insects: moths, butterflies, bees, beetles, spiders -- pretty much anything you'd expect to find in a meadow.

It also contains small doses of time-lapse photography, as we watch dew evaporating, seedlings grow, the ground dry and crack.

I love watching time-lapse footage of plants growing, but for me the most captivating shots were the close-ups of the insects, showing me details of their lives I would never have imagined.

For example, as this ladybug moved across the grass blade, the drops of dew were trapped under its body, resulting in it "surfing" along on a liquid pillow:

Caterpillars walking and climbing never looked so beautiful or hypnotic before:

Even those insects that we may not enjoy seeing in person like snails, spiders, or millipedes have a beautiful, fascinating side revealed in this film.

Unlike most other Nature films you may have seen, there is no narration in this one (except for snippets at the start and end of the film), leaving the imagery to tell the story alone. It works very well, as I often was so engrossed in what I was seeing that I actually found myself leaning forward in my seat a few times. I tried eating dinner while watching it once, and just ended up with a cold plate of untouched food. So fascinating and beautiful! (the film, not the cold plate of food)

So if you haven't seen this film before and have any interest at all in insects, I suggest renting it or watching it on Netflix (or your favorite streaming video service) -- in HD if you have that option. It appears to be available in entirety on YouTube, but I don't recommend watching that as the compression removes so much of the beauty of this film.

Microcosmos -- what a great recommendation Netflix!

Microcosmos trailer on YouTube
Microcosmos HD sample on YouTube
Microcosmos on IMDB


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Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (February 17, 2012 at 9:08 AM)  

I'm definitely going to check this out. I've found my childhood love of insects has resurfaced since I've been gardening! Thank you for the recommendation.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (February 17, 2012 at 9:51 AM)  

Thanks for the recommendation. The kids might enjoy this, too.

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