Microcosmos (1996) At the beginning of Microcosmos , the camera swoops over the countryside and burrows down into the grass (a deliberate echo of Blue Velvet ).… G PT80M Documentary
Movie Review

Microcosmos (1996)

MPAA Rating: G
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Rated: G; Length: 80 Minutes; Genre: Documentary

At the beginning of Microcosmos, the camera swoops over the countryside and burrows down into the grass (a deliberate echo of Blue Velvet). For the next 75 minutes, this French documentary offers a miraculous you-are-there close-up of the insect kingdom, a world of such teeming beauty and sophistication it suggests a sci-fi zooscape designed by Dr. Seuss. An ant lifts a drop of water and drinks from it as if it were a giant, liquid crystal ball; two beetles lock their spiky red horns as purposefully as a pair of battling caribou; a pair of snails engage in an ''embrace'' so moist and tender they could and recording devices that capture the sights and scritch-scratch sounds of insects and other invertabrates as they eat, fight, mate, and — eternally — work, the movie has been edited with a glancing, meditative flow that evokes both the casual violence and eerie quietude of this primeval jungle in miniature. The revelation of Microcosmos isn't just that the insect world has a complex and stirring order — it's how close these bugs come to having minds. A-

Originally posted Oct 25, 1996 Published in issue #350 Oct 25, 1996 Order article reprints