Winged Migration

Movie Information

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Winged Migration at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 3, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community, 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville. (From Asheville, take I-26 to U.S. 64 West, turn right at the third light onto Thompson Street. Follow to the Lake Point Landing entrance and park in the lot on the left.)
Genre: Documentary
Director: Jacques Perrin
Starring: Philippe Labro (narrator)
Rated: NR

It’s fairly rare that I take a second look at a documentary unless the subject matter is particularly interesting to me. (The only documentary I can think of that I’ve seen more than twice is Rob Epstein’s The Times of Harvey Milk (1984).) As a result, I met the Hendersonville Film Society’s announcement that they were showing Winged Migration with a slight groan, since I had no real desire to see it again. Don’t get me wrong, I like birds well enough, but I’m just not morbid about them. So it was a pretty pleasant surprise to find that this ambitious look at our feathered friends holds up very nicely on a second viewing.

As I did originally, I still detect a soupçon of Gallic arrogance in the fact that duck hunting is presented as the exclusive province of North America, while we are shown a little French boy rescuing a bird from industrial sludge. But it really matters very little in the final analysis. What remains are the most breathtakingly beautiful visuals of bird life you’re ever likely to see on the screen—captured with grace and surprising drama. If you’ve never seen it, it belongs on your to-see list. If you have, it’s well worth another look.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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