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Proteus

18 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

Proteus + Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel + Art Forms from the Ocean: The Radiolarian Prints of Ernst Haeckel
Price for all three: $46.65

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

{WINNER! Jury Award Best Documentary - Philadelphia Int'l Film Festival}

{WINNER! Audience Award Best Documentary - Santa Cruz Int'l Film Festival}

{WINNER! Outstanding Creative Achievement Award - Santa Barbara Int'l Film Festival}

For the nineteenth century, the world beneath the sea played much the same role that "outer space" played for the twentieth. The ocean depths were at once the ultimate scientific frontier and "the reservoir of the soul": the place of the unconscious, of imagination and the fantastic.

The central figure of PROTEUS is biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel. As a young man, Haeckel found himself torn between science and art, materialism and religion, rationality and passion, outer and inner worlds. Through his discoveries beneath the sea, Haeckel eventually reconciled these dualities, bringing science and art together in a unitary, almost mystical vision. His work profoundly influenced not only biology but also movements, thinkers and authors as disparate as Art Nouveau and Surrealism, Sigmund Freud and D.H. Lawrence, Vladimir Lenin and Thomas Edison.

The key to Haeckel's vision was a tiny undersea organism called the radiolarian, one of the earliest forms of life. Haeckel discovered, described, classified and painted four thousand species of these one-celled creatures. In their intricate geometric skeletons, seemingly infinite variety and stunning beauty, Haeckel saw the future possibilities of organic and created life.

20 years in the making and based almost entirely on images of nineteenth century painters, photographers and scientific illustrators, PROTEUS brings these undersea worlds to life in a "visually stunning fusion of art, cinema and science" (David Caron, Chair of Biological Sciences, USC).

Review

A ONE-OF-A-KIND VISUAL TREAT! May cause audiences to look at (and think about) the world around them in dramatically different terms. --Variety

MAGNIFICENT...WONDERFUL! Like strolling through a cabinet of wonders. --TV Guide

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ernst Haeckel, Marian Seldes, Corey Burton
  • Directors: David Lebrun
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001B2U1B4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,103 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Peter A. Savigny on September 29, 2008
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As an avid fan of sequenced graphics used to animate a story-line, this 20 year labor of love tells the tale of the radiolarian discovered(?) and lavishly illustrated (4000 drawings) by Ernst Haeckel. As fantastic as the story is in describing the effect that this single-celled organism had on the world of its time, it is the behind the scenes making-of by the director that reveals a dedicated researcher and phenomenally patient compositor. I started my career in animation & then computer graphics some 20 years ago, and know full well the tedium that single frame animation places on the animator prior to computer aided pieces. Add to that a fabulous and captivating story, plus brilliant displays of this unique and unequaled protozoan, and the viewer will be transported to a time where discoveries opened the minds and hearts of a curious population. A must see.

Please buy this and do not try to download it for free anywhere. The effort that went in to producing this by the solo editor, writer, animator should be aptly rewarded with as much capital as possible.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Gerard D. Launay on May 4, 2009
This movie could only be made because two individuals made it their mission to do the impossible. First, we have Ernst Haeckel, the zoologist, who became fascinated by the symmetrical structure of single celled organisms and discovered thousands of new species. Then he undertook the Herculean task of drawing all these different types that he viewed under his microscope. Then we have the filmmaker who decided to painstakingly photograph a thousand of these wonderful drawings of nature, turn them into animation cells, and produce a kaleidoscopic visual feast of their nearly infinite variety.

The first task was completed in about a decade...the second task two decades. So the final product is simply astonishing. Along with the visuals of these extraordinary protozoan structures is a biography of Ernst Haeckel himself and the relationship of his scientific journey to the metaphysical journey of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his poem of the "Ancient Mariner."

Consider this a unique DVD - nothing like it has ever been made and will be made.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 24, 2010
Despite my extensive studies of mid 19th-century biology, wherein Ernst Haeckel was often mentioned, I knew very little about his life and philosophy. Thus, this 60-minute documentary was revelatory. The film ably presents the religio-philosophical background of natural science at the time and the various discoveries that had begun to challenge and change this perspective. Art, science, technology, and religion weave in and out and merge, making the film unusually multidisciplinary. The use of contemporary illustrations--photographs, watercolors, and etchings--provides a feeling of the novelty and excitement of Haeckel's explorations and discoveries. The radiolaria crystalline skeletons of such great variety, like snowflakes, are fascinating, especially when viewed as a rapid animated series. The later expansion of Haeckel's worldview, grounded in Spinoza and Goethe, is evidenced by his later treatises and landscape paintings from his many world travels. The film was a 20-year project of David Lebrun; his labors in cinematography in an era before electronic graphics, as explained in bonus features, are itself extraordinary, as much a technological divide as an old manual typewriter and 'white-out' versus modern computerized wordprocessing. A cohesive soundtrack was provided by composer Yuval Ron plus sound effects. Thus, the film is a worthwhile though esoteric documentary. For a related book, see: "Exploring the Invisible. Art, science, and the spiritual" by Lynn Gamwell.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Vitor Masson on July 1, 2010
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This incredible and beatiful documentary is one of the best compilation of the modern field Biology's tales and art I've ever seen before! You will not even blink! Amazing history and production of the Ernst Haeckel's life and early foundations of comparative and evolutionary Biology of the nineteenth century. Astonishing soundtrack, narrative and picture animation!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophile on March 23, 2012
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This is only the 2nd time I've watched the Special Features on a film and can promise you every single glimpse into the world of animation by the filmmaker, David LeBrun, only makes his achievement more amazing! His passion & dedication to bring to life the discovery of over 4,000 radiolaria by Ernst Haeckel, took him on a journey lasting 22 years, and LeBrun even went so far as to study German as much of Haeckel's work has not been translated into English. There could be no better match to bring Haeckel's work to the greater population than a man with the same insatiable curiousity and integrity of charactr than David LeBrun. Last but not least was the simple, straight- forward explanations of some of the processes which animation requires. He did it in a way anyone can understand and with understated humility for the task he'd appointed himself. Bravo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ballet Fan on May 21, 2013
This overview of Ernst Haeckl's life and work is not only visually stunning, but has a very interesting musical soundtrack which complements beautifully the narrative discussion of the diversity of forms in nature. I recommend this documentary highly to anyone with an interest in the manifestation of creative intelligence in the material universe--the point at which scientific investigation and spirituality meet.
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