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Thursday, September 01, 2011


- mother and baby seal under the arctic ice

This week's movie rental - Oceans - was truly amazing. The 2009 documentary film, directed and produced by Jacques Perrin and narrated by Pierce Brosnan, explores the Earth's five oceans. The trailer is at the bottom of this post but it doesn't do the movie justice. The cinematography was great and you get to see a number of creatures in their natural habitats ..... octopuses, seals, whales, penguins, walruses, dolphins, turtles, otters, sharks, etc. ... plus more exotic specimens like the Mantis shrimp, the Sun fish, the Spanish dancer sea slug, Narwhals, and the Asian sheepshead wrasse .....

While the movie was beautiful to watch, there ware some disturbing moments too - you see some animals/fish becoming the meals of others (as I mentioned in an earlier post, this is so not the best of all possible worlds!). I especially felt badly for the newly hatched baby sea turtles trying to make it to the ocean before getting carried off by birds - when hatched in daylight, only about one in one thousand succeeds ....

But also distressful was stuff about the negative effect over-fishing, pollution, and global warming are having on the oceans and their inhabitants ... one scene shows all the creatures accidentally caught in fishing nets, another shows satellite imagery of waste seeping out of rivers and into the seas, and there's a scene of a seal swimming curiously around a submerged metal shopping cart.

- one of my favorite creatures in the film was this Garden eel

The movie, though, is more than just a peek at life in the oceans - it's about life itself and about valuing it in all its forms. I was reminded of some lines from an Adrienne Rich poem ...

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.

The movie begins with a boy at the seashore asking what the ocean is exactly, and near the end of the film, Pierce Brosnan's voice over says the the ocean is a universe of wonder and mystery, a fragile dwelling place for living beings who share our planet, and he adds that Every breath we take and every drop we drink depends on a healthy ocean, and now her life depends on us. So instead of asking what exactly is the ocean, maybe we should be asking who exactly are we.


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