Scenes to take your mind off the heatHere’s another good way to cool off during Seoul’s sweltering summer. This will work especially if you are too fainthearted to watch the summer horror flicks that are supposed to “chill” you with their vengeful ghosts.
Just imagine standing in the middle of Antarctica as the icy wind blows at about 93 miles per hour with nothing but endless snow around you.
Too difficult to imagine this happening to you here in Seoul?
Director Luc Jacquet has made it possible. His feature film directorial debut, “March of the Penguins,” offers the most amazingly detailed scenes of real penguins walking, breeding and feeding on the land (and in the waters) of Antarctica.
These images unfold right in front you as you watch in utter fascination. You begin to realize that penguins are actually very careful and sincere animals, although they still look goofy trying to walk on those two short legs.
The French filmmaker has allowed viewers to get a very close look at the life of an emperor penguin, a large variety (3 feet, 7 inches tall) that lives in Antarctica and lays only one egg a year that takes three devoted months of incubating to hatch.
The film has a touching scene of male penguins using their feet to keep the eggs off the ground so they won’t freeze, while they refuse to eat anything for three whole months, until the female penguins return with food for the young.
It actually makes you feel very sad when a clumsy male penguin drops an egg on the ground and watches it crack. The penguin starts squawking as if it is in pain.
While the male penguin faithfully waits, the female leaves the egg and the male behind after she lays the egg at the same safe inland spot the penguins have been returning to every four years for centuries, the film notes.
It takes more than a month for the female penguins, hopping and sliding, to reach open water again. After the females jump into the ocean to find food, the camera shows jaw-dropping scenes of penguins feeding on squid and fleeing from seals, their natural enemies. Penguins are incredibly fast in water, unlike their ungainly movements on land.
The four-man film crew all suffered from frostbite as they had to stay in Antarctica for 14 months studying these animals, said Tube Entertainment, the domestic distributor of the film. It explained that they used special cameras that could withstand temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero centigrade. And because the “actors” were penguins, the crew had to be careful not to scare them away as they produced the film.
It is fascinating to see how close the cameras were able to get to the penguins for so long. The film shows that emperor penguins have talons like an eagle’s and that both male and female penguins protect their fledglings by covering them with their large bellies during a blizzard.
The film aims to be more dramatic and less somber than Discovery Channel documentary footage, managing to give the human audience a lesson or two about the love of a family.
No English or French-language version of the film is available in Korea; it has been dubbed by Korean actors. One of them is Lee Geum-hui, an anchorwoman who narrates the Korean version of the film.
“March of the Penguins” will be released Aug. 11.
by Lee Min-a