MICROCOSMOS (DVD)

5 Stars
Year Released: 1996
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 75 minutes
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Every day there’s always something. The line at Starbucks gets longer and longer, with new coffee drinkers seemingly birthed right there on the line. The bedsheets become part of the dreaded laundry day, where clothes actually have to enter that clean phase that no one’s really sure of. Above ground, days that won’t happen for weeks have to be taken care of before they arrive. They’re called vacations, travel days to see a place we’ve never seen and won’t likely move to, because for a vacation, it’s only good at that time. A vacation produces a change in attitude. More relaxation. More happiness. You’re away from your bubble. The bubble doesn’t miss you. You don’t miss the bubble. And we whiz around in the sky on jetliners, drive around in cars and vans, and that’s our entire society. Clumps and packs of people living life they way they see fit or the way their jobs tell them to live. Love comes, love goes, we live. We get hired, we get fired, we live. We’re here and we live. Check out those bugs below us. Look at them.

They live the same lives we do. There are births, deaths, and they deal with the weather accordingly. “Microcosmos” is what we get from their lifestyles and damned if it isn’t one of the greatest motion pictures to ever be on any screen and on any DVD in any homes. These bugs make love, they fight, they eat. They’re here just like us. And you know, burning ants with a magnifying glass is fun during childhood, but in the current cycle of where we are, these creatures of the ground are something to consider when it comes to living. Through astounding photography, a cricket ends up in spider webbing with an important lesson in its dying brain: Never tease a spider. How many of us have learned that already? If a person looks nasty or manipulative or imposing, move along. Never dabble in danger unless the fight can be won. The cricket caught in the webbing of the spider didn’t win that fight at all. But it’s miraculous to look at. To have such an intimate look at these bugs, headed by filmmakers who certainly knew their way around a world that “A Bug’s Life” and “Antz” could merely have a good chuckle with, is as good use of a camera as any sort of achievement in film history, from Welles to overlapping dialogue to whatever other treasures cinema holds dear and remembers even to this day.

Movies were made for so many reasons, including exploration of people and places not readily accessible by a public concerned with their own lives. That’s why filmmakers exist and in “Microcosmos”, to see a few ants take to a puddle of water, to watch raindrops being slurped on slowly, to see a rainstorm become a huge event at that level of ground, is staggering. This is a world that can’t even be seen properly by leaning close enough to roaming ants and who would readily want to? Once in a while, a cadre of ants chowing on a dead fly is fascinating to watch. They move the body sideways. One of them climbs on top of the head. Each one has a piece. Sounds a little like the working world. Looking further into this world, even a bird is huge and uncomfortable to look at from the ants’ point of view. This behemoth pecks at them, content with a snack of a few of them. Meanwhile, the frog croaks and life continues. “Microcosmos” is that rare film to lead us, to reiterate why the camera is just as important as the paintbrush, keyboard, pen, chunks of clay, and anything else that can be used to make art. This is art. The lives of the many on wet and dry ground, on wide and chewed leaves, on blades of grass, is art in that our lives become more focused as a result of it. What we use, such as the cup from Starbucks, the discarded Los Angeles Times, the checkbook where another check is torn out to pay another bill, becomes just as enormous as those bugs.



Posted on June 7, 2005 in Reviews by
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