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Science Is Fiction (The Criterion Collection)

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Product Description

Jean Painlevé was a film director, critic, theorist, and animator, yet his interests and studies also extended to mathematics, medicine, and zoology. Amazingly, all these disparate strands came together in a groundbreaking, decades-spanning artistic career. Operating under the credo Science is fiction, Painlevé forged his own unique cinematic path, creating countless short films for both the viewing public and the scientific community. Moreover, he was also one of the first filmmakers to take his camera underwater. Surreal, otherworldly documents of marine life, these films transformed sea horses, octopi, and mollusks into delicate dancers in their own floating ballets.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Art and Science! April 23 2009
By Leif Adams - Published on
Seeing as this is a Criterion release, I thought I would just talk a few specs...

Great transfers!
Booklet on the light side, one good essay.
Sound great!
Pretty packaging in a sturdy 3-disc* plastic binder.
*1 DVD on left with book, 2 DVD on right.

No one has posted a list of the films included yet...


Included in this set are:

-Hyas and Stenorhynchus (BLACK & WHITE)
-Sea Urchins (COLOR)
-Liquid Crystals (COLOR)
-The Sea Horse (BLACK & WHITE)
-The Love Life of the Octopus (COLOR)
-Shrimp Stories (COLOR)
-Acera (COLOR)
-The Vampire (BLACK & WHITE)
-Freshwater Assassins (BLACK & WHITE)
-Sea Ballerinas (COLOR)
-Diatoms (COLOR)
-Pigeons in the Square (COLOR)

-Eight Films with Original Score by Yo La Tengo (BLACK & WHITE) (COLOR)

-The Octopus (BLACK & WHITE)
-Sea Urchin (BLACK & WHITE)
-Daphnia (BLACK & WHITE)

-The Stickleback's Egg (BLACK & WHITE)
-Experimental Treatment of a Hemorrhage In a Dog (BLACK & WHITE)

-The Fourth Dimension (BLACK & WHITE)
-The Struggle for Survival (BLACK & WHITE)
-Voyage to the Sky (BLACK & WHITE)
-Similarities Between Length and Speed (BLACK & WHITE)

-Bluebeard (COLOR)

-8 Part French Television Series (BLACK & WHITE)(COLOR)
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By Hank Napkin - Published on
Verified Purchase
For those of us generally fatigued by the apparent cultural and commercial compulsion to identify genre; to separate the ideas of "art" and "science" and "life" into discrete, highly defined clots, there is the work of Jean Painleve. In addition to pioneering entirely new techniques in revealing many things previously unseen, Painleve's images are startling in their content and composition, transcending the purely documentary by the application of an aesthetic sense as refined as the nature it observes. Droll, playful and informative on multiple levels, these films are so immersive as to be literally saturated. With color. With image. With detail. With ideas. With associations. With knowledge. Criterion has done us all a service by placing this work within easy reach, ready to continually remind us of how compelling just being can be.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
An excellent series of films by Jean Painlevé. May 18 2009
By Ted - Published on
Verified Purchase
This DVD set from the Criterion Collection contains 23 of Jean Painlevé's films. 22 of them are documentaries and 1 of them is a stop-motion animated fairy tale. Many of the documentaries are about marine life. The titles are usually self-explanatory.

The films on disc one are:

Hyas and Stenrhynchus, (Hyas et Stenorinques)
Sea Urchins (Ourisns) 1954
How Some Jellyfish Are Born (Comment Naissent Des Méduses)
Liquid Crystals (Christaux Liquides)
The Sea Horse (L'Hippocampe)
The Love Life of an Octopus (Les Amours de la Pieuvre)
Shrimp Stories (Histoires de Crevettes)
ACERA, or The Witches' Dance (Acera ou le Bal Des Sorcières) - (a film about the locomotion of various animals)
The Vampire (Le Vampire) (a film about the vampire bat)
Diatoms (Diatomées)
Pigeons in the Square (Les Pigeons du Square)

Disc two contains
The Octopus (La Pieuvre)
Sea Urchins (Les Ourisins) 1928
Daphnia (La Daphnie)
The Stickleback's Egg (L'uf D'Épinoche)
Experimental Treatment of a Hemorrhage in a Dog (Traitement Expérimental d'une Hémorragie Che le Chien
The Fourth Dimension (La Quatrième Dimension)
The Struggle for Survival (Images Mathénatiques de la Lutte Pour la Vie)
Voyage to the Sky (Voyage Dans Le Ciel)
Similarities Between Length and Speed (Similitudes Des Longueurs et des Vitesses)
Bluebeard (Barbe-Bleue)

Disc three contains a French miniseries documentary of interviews with Painlevé.

The Bluebeard film is the only non-documentary.

As an added bonus, there is an optional soundtrack of music composed by Yo La Tengo, specifically for 8 of the films in this release, and an interview with members of Yo La Tengo.

This is a great release and has some excellent films. I learned a lot watching this!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
AU NATUREL July 7 2009
By Cesar Barron - Published on
If you're a nature or wildlife enthusiast this collection is a must-have for you. With so many of Painleve's short films, this DVD collection provides endless hours of pleasure. I especially enjoyed the Sounds of Science section, which is eight of Painleve's short films with an ambient rock soundtrack by band Yo La Tengo. The music seems to enhance the hypnotic quality of the images presented in the documentaries. Although some of the narration and title cards border on the ludicrous, Painleve nontheless offers unforgettable and mesmerizing images and you're left wondering about the amazing techniques used to capture them.
Five Stars July 5 2014
By Isabella Ruso - Published on
Verified Purchase
Great condition and the product itself is incredible! Insightful and entertaining all around