Seasons, new wildlife film


This video says about itself:

Directed by: Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud

Seasons: Official Trailer 1 (2016) – Documentary

On 26 December 2016, I went to see the wildlife film Seasons.

The film aims at showing the history of wildlife and its interactions with humans from the last ice age till today.

The film says that in the northern half of Europe during the last ice age, the Weichselian ice age, there were not really seasons. There was winter for 80,000 years.

The film shows that with footage of animals adapted to cold: a snowy owl, reindeer and muskoxen, which still live in Norway.

About 12,000 years ago, the film says, the ice age was over, and the golden age of forests started. Now, there were clearly seasons.

These seasons meant migration of animals. The film shows flying cranes, flying grey lag geese, and thousands of bramblings landing in trees.

That ‘golden age’ is the longest part of the film. It shows many beautiful images of forest animals: lynx, wolves, pine marten, red foxes, moose, red deer, European bison, wild boar, edible dormice, red squirrels, blackbirds, owls, fire salamander and frogs.

The ‘golden age’ ended with the start of Neolithic agriculture.

Some wolves became dogs; and other wolves were exterminated.

Gradually, much of the forests was cleared to make it suitable for hunting.

Roads, at first for horse-drawn carts, later for cars, divided biotopes for animals; creating new dangers for, eg, hedgehogs.

Many forests changed to open fields.

That meant new chances for some wildlife: jackdaws, hoopoes, roe deer, little bustards.

However, humans divided animals in so-called useful and ‘noxious’ species. That meant killing ‘noxious’ animals; and animals which according to superstition brought bad luck, like owls.

Then industry arose in the eighteenth century and later. With its pollution. And ‘industrial’ wars like World War I. The film shows footage of a soldier in a trench using a lull in the fighting to draw a thrush in front of him. However, then the shooting starts again, killing the thrush.

The film then shifts to bees, killed by or dying from pesticides.

Then, as conclusion, the filmmakers say humans should rectify what they have damaged to animals’ biotopes. ‘It is not too late for that’.

The movie was recorded for a big part in nature reserves in France. However, it was also filmed in Poland, Romania, Scotland, Oostvaardersplassen national park in the Netherlands, and Norway.

There are two more or less problematic sides to this beautiful film. Sides which it has in common with Océans, the earlier film by its makers.

First: The images are joined together by relatively few spoken comments. This may be a weak point as many viewers will not know all the animal species in the movie, and hardly one of them is introduced by name. It may be a strong point as well, as it enables the viewers to concentrate more on the imagery.

Second: sponsoring of this fine film by not necessarily fine sponsors (named in the beginning of the movie). One of them is the French Fondation Bettencourt Schueller. Founded by millionaire Ms Liliane Bettencourt who also financed crooked French politician Nicolas Sarkozy.

African American women at NASA


This video from the USA says about itself:

14 August 2016

Watch the new trailer for Hidden Figures, based on the incredible untold true story. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer & Janelle Monáe. In theaters this January.

HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

In Theaters – January 6, 2017

From Science News:

Hidden Figures highlights three black women who were vital to the U.S. space program

Despite racism and sexism, female “computers” put John Glenn into orbit

By Emily Conover

6:00am, December 23, 2016

Hollywood space flicks typically feature one type of hero: astronauts who defy the odds to soar into space and back again. But now a group of behind-the-scenes heroes from the early days of the U.S. space program are getting their due. Black female mathematicians performed essential calculations to safely send astronauts to and from Earth’s surface — in defiance of flagrant racism and sexism.

These “computers” — as they were known before the electronic computer came into widespread use — are the subject of Hidden Figures. The film focuses on three black women — Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — and their work at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., during the run-up to John Glenn’s orbit of the Earth in 1962.

A mathematics virtuoso, Katherine Johnson calculated or verified the flight trajectories for many of the nation’s space milestones. The film showcases her work on two: the first American in space (Alan Shepard), and the first American to orbit the Earth (John Glenn). But Johnson also had a hand in sending the first men to the moon, during the Apollo 11 mission, and when the Apollo 13 astronauts ran into trouble, Johnson worked on the calculations that helped them get home safely.

Mary Jackson worked on wind tunnel experiments at Langley, where she tested how spacecraft performed under high winds. The film follows Jackson as she overcomes obstacles of the Jim Crow era to become NASA’s first black female engineer. Though the movie focuses on her triumphant rise, after decades in that role, Jackson grew frustrated with the remaining glass ceilings and moved into an administrative role, helping women and minorities to advance their careers at NASA.

Johnson and Jackson got their start under the leadership of Dorothy Vaughan, who led the segregated group of “colored computers,” assigning black women to assist with calculations in various departments. As electronic computers became more essential Vaughan recognized their importance and became an expert programmer. A scene where she surreptitiously takes a book from whites-only section of a public library — a guide to the computing language FORTRAN — is a nod to Vaughan’s prowess with the language.

Electronic computers were so unfamiliar in the 1960s that everyone from engineers to astronauts felt more confident when a human computer calculated the numbers. After a room-sized IBM mainframe spits out figures for his trajectory, John Glenn requests, “Get the girl to check the numbers” — meaning Johnson. In the film, that request culminates in Johnson running a frantic last-minute check of the numbers and sprinting across the Langley campus while Glenn waits. In reality, that process took a day and a half.

For spaceflight fans, Hidden Figures provides an opportunity to be immersed in a neglected perspective. The women’s stories are uplifting, their resilience impressive and their retorts in response to those who underestimate them, witty.

But viewers should be aware that, although the main facts underpinning the plot are correct, liberties have been taken. Some of the NASA higher-ups in the film — including Johnson’s supervisor Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) — are not real people. And presumably because number crunching tends to be a bit thin in the suspense department, the filmmakers have dramatized some scenes — Johnson is pictured in Mission Control during Glenn’s flight, but in reality she watched it on television — which seems a shame because the contributions of these women don’t need to be exaggerated to sound momentous.

Dutch wildlife film in Japan


This September 2016 video is the Japanese trailer for the Dutch wildlife film De Nieuwe Wildernis (The new wilderness), about Oostvaardersplassen national park in the Netherlands.

Translated from Dutch regional broadcasting organisation Omroep Flevoland:

New Wilderness in Japanese cinemas

December 20, 2016

Wildlife film “The New Wilderness” on the Oostvaardersplassen is popular abroad. After, eg, having been shown on TV in Germany and Belgium, the film is now in Japanese cinemas. So says producer Ton Okkerse.

In ten Japanese cities The New Wilderness recently started at the cinemas. A special event according to Okkerse. Not often European films are shown in Japanese cinemas. Certainly not wildlife films.

Japanese interest for the Oostvaardersplassen is according to Okkerse because of the Fukushima nuclear disaster five years ago. This disaster still causes much debate in the country. Thus, inter alia, ‘rewilding’, meaning returning areas to nature, is considered.

What the Japanese exactly think about De Nieuwe Wildernis is guesswork. Okkerse does get reviews and reports on visitors’ numbers, but he can not read them because of the language barrier and Japanese characters.

New Hieronymus Bosch film, review


This 2016 video is the trailer of the film EXHIBITION ON SCREEN – The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch.

It says about itself:

Who was Hieronymus Bosch? Why do his strange and fantastical paintings resonate with art lovers now more than ever? How does he bridge the medieval and Renaissance worlds? Where did his unconventional and timeless creations come from? Discover the answers to these questions and more with this remarkable new film from EXHIBITION ON SCREEN.

The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch features the critically acclaimed exhibition ‘Visions of a Genius’ at the Noordbrabants Museum in the southern Netherlands, which brought the majority of Bosch’s paintings and drawings together for the first time to his home town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and attracted almost half a million art lovers from all over the world.

With his fascinating life revealed plus the details and stories within his works seen like never before, don’t miss this cinematic exploration of a great creative genius.

I went to see this film on 17 December 2016.

An earlier film, Jheronimus Bosch, Touched by the devil, had as its main theme the complex preparations for having the exhibition to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of the painter in the North Brabant Museum in Den Bosch, the city where he was born and worked.

The new film was finished after the exhibition in Den Bosch. It shows images of the paintings, drawings and spectators in the museum. And images of Bosch’s works, sometimes zooming in on details. Or scans, showing that Bosch sometimes painted over parts of earlier versions.

Art experts explain in the film what, according to them, Bosch meant to say in his works. He must have been an avid reader, as some of his work is based on texts and pictures from books. The interviewees point out allusions to Biblical stories or medieval traditions which are not obvious to 21st century spectators. However, what Bosch really meant is a more complex issue than becomes apparent in the film.

We know more or less which art is by Bosch. We know something about his life from Den Bosch city records. However, we don’t really know about the connections between his life and his work.

There are not any writings by Bosch about how he saw his work.

Well, maybe there is one: a sentence in Latin above a drawing, about innovating oneself being better than relying on other people’s innovations. Is that Latin sentence by Bosch? We don’t know. We don’t know Hieronymus Bosch’s handwriting.

The film says that Bosch was an innovator compared to the late medieval artistic status quo, as he introduced phantasy into his work. They might have said as well that he was one of the first artists to depict common people; not just Jesus, angels and people at the top of political or church hierarchies.

The film does say that Bosch lived in turbulent times, but does not dwell extensively upon that.

Alan Woods points out that Bosch’s turbulent times reflect in his art. One year after Bosch died, Martin Luther started the religious Reformation. Already before that, the stability of feudal society had been undermined: by the Black Death plague, by wars, by persecution of ‘witches’, by the rise of the urban bourgeoisie which eventually became rivals of the nobility and Roman Catholic clergy ruling classes.

Woods writes that Bosch sharply criticized the powers that be. Bosch’s art says that in choosing between good, leading to paradise, and evil, leading to hell, also many religious and political authorities choose evil and should burn in hell. Among his many depictions of priests, monks and nuns, not one shows these religious people in a favourable light.

Jeroen Bosch, detail of the Garden of earthly delights

This detail of Bosch’s Garden of earthly delights shows a nun with a pig’s body. On the left of the detail is a being, half fantasy animal, half noble knight. A criticism on behalf of the urban bourgeoisie to which Bosch belonged, of the aristocratic and clerical ruling classes?

Bosch’s Hay Wain, as the film The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch says, depicts greedy people on the way to hell. It does mention that the pope, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and kings are among these sinners. But it does not say that Bosch may criticize the clerical and secular powers that be in that.

The film shows Bosch’s painting The Ship of Fools, and comments on it. The film says that people boarding the ship of fools will sail to hell. However, a monk and nuns are prominent passengers on the ship. The film does not comment on that.

Jheronimus Bosch, Ship of fools

The art experts in the film give the impression that Bosch was part of the social and religious establishment. That an art critic of Rupert Murdoch‘s daily The Times says so in the film could more or less be expected. It is a pity that other interviewees don’t examine arguments for the theory, unnamed in the film, that Bosch was a critic of the establishment.

Nevertheless, an interesting film, worth seeing.

Painter Hieronymus Bosch, new film


This video says about itself:

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN – The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch

20 September 2016

IN CINEMAS FROM 3 NOVEMBER 2016

Delve into the vivid imagination of a true visionary.

Who was Hieronymus Bosch? Why do his strange and fantastical paintings resonate with art lovers now more than ever? How does he bridge the medieval and Renaissance worlds? Where did his unconventional and timeless creations come from? Discover the answers to these questions and more with this remarkable new film from EXHIBITION ON SCREEN.

The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch features the critically acclaimed exhibition ‘Visions of a Genius’ at the Noordbrabants Museum in the southern Netherlands, which brought the majority of Bosch’s paintings and drawings together for the first time to his home town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and attracted almost half a million art lovers from all over the world.

With his fascinating life revealed plus the details and stories within his works seen like never before, don’t miss this cinematic exploration of a great creative genius.

For more information go to www.exhibitiononscreen.com.