The grandeurs and intimacies of nature will, I hope, encourage the spectator to seek for himself the inexhaustible sources of beauty in the natural world around him. Fortunate is he indeed who can see Mount McKinley against the summer midnight sky.... From a 1962 documentary about the photography of Ansel Adams produced by THIRTEEN/WNET. [more inside]
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
Sasquatch Birth Journal 2, "an unprecedented peek at the mysteries of nature." Perhaps NSFW.
Wild Film History is a guide to over 100 years of wildlife filmmaking, highlighting landmark films (1959's Serengeti Darf Nicht Sterben, aka Serengeti Shall Not Die - Clip 1, Clip 2) as well as historical relics (1910's The Birth of a Flower - Clip). Check out the links on the Key Events page for an overview of how the genre developed. The site also features biographies and oral history interviews with pioneers (mostly U.K.-based) in the industry. A project of Wildscreen.
Gregory Colbert's Ashes and Snow has been linked to twice before on Metafilter. However, you can now view 10 minutes of his film as part of his Ted Talk--it's the most stunning nature footage I've ever seen. In the talk he also mentions a new concept he's developing called Animal Copyright, which I think is long overdue.
To live in a pristine land ... to roam the wilderness ... to choose a site, cut trees, and build a home ... Thousands have had such dreams, but Richard Proenneke lived them. In 1968, at 51 years of age, Richard Proenneke retired to Upper Twin Lakes, Alaska and using nothing but hand tools, built a cabin where he lived for the next 30 or so years. He filmed the cabin's construction (as well as much of nature's wonder) and kept meticulous notes on the back of wall calendars. In 1973, Sam_Keith produced a book (One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey) based on Proenneke's journal entries and photography. In 1999, at the age of 82, Proenneke could no longer endure the harsh winters of Alaska and moved to California to be with his family. He died there on Easter Sunday, 2003.