Source: Zoo Portraits
Microcosmos (1996) – This French documentary, directed by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou, is an intimate look at the lives of insects and other small invertebrates. The original title was “Microcosmos: Le peuple de l’herbe” (Microcosmos: The grass people), and it’s an 80 minute journey through this miniature world.
Darwin’s Nightmare (2004) – Set on the banks of Tanzania’s Lake Victoria, “Darwin’s Nightmare” should come with a warning. This hard-hitting reportage reveals a grim world of exhaustive fishing, local poverty and the arms trade. Gripping and grotesque, this is a story that needed to be told.
March of the Penguins (2005) – After the horrors of Lake Victoria, you might want to head down to the South Pole for something altogether more joyful. “March of the Penguins” – narrated by Morgan Freeman and his trademark soft tones – is a feel-good story of epic proportions. It follows a group of emperor penguins on their Antarctic journey, across frozen tundra, to traditional breeding grounds.
Samsara (2011) – Samsara is a Sanskrit word meaning “the ever-turning wheel of life,” a concept which forms the basis of this spectacular documentary by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson. The documentary transports viewers across borders, exploring the sacred temples, industrialised areas, and the natural wonders of 25 different countries. It’s not strictly a nature documentary, but deserves its place on this list all the same.
Virunga (2014) – With “Virunga,” written and directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, we return to the second category. It’s an uncompromising mix of investigative journalism and wildlife documentary. In this inspirational true story, we follow a small team of park rangers and witness their efforts to protect the home of the last mountain gorillas from armed militias and poachers.
Blue Planet II (2017) – The list wouldn’t be complete without some mention of a BBC Natural History Unit production. Along with broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough, they have led the way in nature documentaries for the past few decades. Since the “Life on Earth” series back in 1979, their productions have been the definition of quality and innovation. Their latest, “Blue Planet II,” was released last year and was a huge success.
See the list at Zoo Portraits.
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