The White Planet (3 stars)

The White Planet


(E) 86min

French Canadian filmmakers Thierry Piantanida and Jean Lemire’s 2006 documentary attempts to bridge the gap between an National Geographic style infomercial documentaries and the visual ambitiousness (and ambiguities) of more experimental eco friendly cinema like Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka.

Unfortunately the film never quite engages. Maybe it is a problem of voice-over as we feel we are in the bog-standard nature documentary; or perhaps it’s that the small screen doesn’t do justice to some of the images that hint at magnificence: the many caribou for example that we see in the process of migrating are no more than dots on the TV screen.

There are some great, haunting moments though – the seals with astonishing inflatable nostrils that they puff up like balloons. But anybody who has seen Werner Herzog’s recent, fascinating look at man, extremity and beast, Encounters at the End of the World, may note the difference between what is adequate and what is inspirational in the pantheon of great natural history genre. Extras include making of doc and interviews.



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