The Crimson Wing
The life cycle of the Lesser Flamingo
This is the first cinematic venture to come out of the newly formed DisneyNature corporation and it certainly boasts all the right credentials: syrupy narrative read by Mariella Frostrup and a trendy soundtrack by The Cinematic Orchestra.
What you should know, however, is that this is no BBC nature documentary; filmed during a gruelling sixteen month shoot on the salt lakes of Natron in Tanzania, Aeberhard and Ward have set out to capture the life cycle of the Lesser Flamingo, which is a feat in itself. The result is closer to a visual poem set to a musical score in which the lake becomes another planet inhabited by strange and elusive creatures.
The directors deliberately draw upon various myths and fairytales (the phoenix being one of them) to tell the story of the flamingo. While this use of certain familiar archetypes certainly adds an interesting layer to the film, it also means that hard facts are jettisoned in favour of an opaque narrative, which may grate with some viewers who are expecting a more traditional approach to the subject. Having said this, The Crimson Wing is well worth seeing for the simple fact that this is one nature documentary that attempts to break the mould.