Science is Fiction (4 stars)

Science is Fiction

(E) 215min (BFI DVD retail)


There’s just space to mention this fascinating film about one of the great pioneers of science films, Jean Painlevé (1902-1989). Painlevé was a poet in every sense of the word and there was nothing he liked to do more than film fish, foul or mineral in their natural habitat. He made more than 200 genuinely enchanting films that almost define the ‘magic realist’ tag. Though ridiculed by the scientific community for his assertion that all ‘science is fiction’, his films (which were always set to avant garde scores) were much admired by Antonin Artaud, Luis Buñuel and Jean Vigo. This selection of his most famous films is a rare treat.

A ton of extras include an introduction by academic Dr Michaël Abecassis; comparative shorts from the time, a booklet with a biog and essays. Disc Two contains new soundtracks to some of Painlevé’s by US band Yo La Tengo, commissioned by San Francisco International Film Festival. An eye opener.

(Paul Dale)

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