Movie Chronicles

SFAF Microcosmos

March 22, 2024 Brett Dillon Episode 117
🔒 SFAF Microcosmos
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Movie Chronicles
SFAF Microcosmos
Mar 22, 2024 Episode 117
Brett Dillon

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SFAF Microcosmos 

 Film:- Microcosmos (1996)

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Subscriber-only episode

SFAF Microcosmos 

 Film:- Microcosmos (1996)

Episode Archive: -

Patreon:- Movie Chronicles

Buy all the Movie Chronicles series of e-books …You know you want to.

Hello, I’m Brett Dillon, and this is the Movie Chronicles.

This episode continues the mini-series of “The Best Science Fiction Films Of All-Time”.

This time we take a dip into the Documentary section to find out about some real bug-eyed monsters.

Science Fiction documentaries are few and far between.

Fortunately, you’ll find I’m covering most of them in this series.

So, let’s go back to 1996, and take in…


Microcosmos: Le Peuple de l’Herbe (Microcosmos : Microcosmos : People Of The Grass)

Director & Script: Claude Nuridsany, Marie Pérennou

DOP: Thierry Machado                                  Editor: Florence Ricard, Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte

Music: Bruno Coulais

Actors: Jacques Perrin


   If you want real bug-eyed monsters, you have to go to the source. 

This is what this movie does. 

The documentary explores the world of insects through the use of microphotography. 

The story, such as it is, is the passing of seasons in a French field.


   We begin with a descent from the sky into the field to convey the idea we are the eye of God that sees all things great and small. 

A little voice over dialogue clues us in on what is happening and then bows out of the picture (for the most part. 

I will also note the French original version uses a male narrator and the English translation uses a female).


   “Microcosmos” is as misleading as most documentaries are. 

The narrative has us in a French field; the reality is that we are in a studio and the insects are performing on cue. 

It is the editing that makes this look like spontaneous, natural behaviours. 


   The microphotography is what wowed audiences at the time. 

I would like to give a shout out to the music score. 

It imitates natural sounds in a way that is suggestive rather than intrusive. 

It isn’t used to suggest or heighten drama (which some may feel is either plodding or is invisible to their ear). 

This music, I feel, is the real triumph of the film (within my bias that the visuals are all artificial constructs. 

The music is organic and, more importantly, an organic part of the film).


   The imagery goes through a cycle that follows an historical cycle of French art. 

We start off in impressionism, move to pointillist and proceed to the surrealist. 

This also suggests our develop of knowledge of the microworld, as better technology allowed us to explore it more fully. 

In this theme colour plays an important role (while I can’t say for sure, I’m almost positive the images were colour graded to fit with this theme).



Bruno Coulais


Was born on January 13, 1954, in Paris, France.


Bruno was taught violin and piano by Bren Santos with the aim of becoming a composer of Classical music. 

His friendships within the entertainment industry saw him gravitate towards film score production.


Up until 1996, Bruno was primarily known for his work in TV. “Microcosmos”, with little dialogue, depended on the music for its emotional power. 

Film producers began to beat a path to his door, and paved it with golden promises.


In 2001, he announced his semi-retirement, as he wanted to create an opera for children. Ultimately, this seems to have resulted in the soundtrack for “Les Choristes” (2004). 

2009 was another special year in Bruno’s development. 

He worked on two animated films – the award winning “Coraline” and the lesser known but equally brilliant, “The Secret Of Kells”.



Jacques Perrin


Was born on July 13, 1941, in Paris, France, and he died in 2022.


Jacques was a producer on the movie “Microcosmos” (1996). 

He was the son of Alexandre Simonet, manager of the Comédie Française. 

Jacques left school at the age of 15 and, in 1959, enrolled at the Conservatoire Supérior d’Art Dramatique (located in Paris, France).


While Jacques’ first film performance was in 1946, it might be better said he was discovered by Italian Director, Valerio Zurlini, while studying at the Conservatoire. 

Valerio cast him in his speaking role, 1960’s “La Ragazza Con La Valigia”, and became a favourite of the Director. 

In the sixties, he was also favoured by top drawer Directors like Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jacques Demy, and Pierre Schoendoerffer.

In the seventies, Jacques switched to making political movies. 

In the eighties, he was sliding into documentaries, and the Producers role. 

His last important role was in 2004’s “Les Choristes”.




Next episode we explore the adventures of the blind swordsman, Zatoichi in 1965.

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Until next time… Don’t bug me!