In this rapturously photographed effort, the real "stars of the show" are the likes of: the growth of vitamin C crystals; the river of life of spermatozoids; a bullfrog coming out of the mud; a confrontation of sea iguanas; and so on. The images in their visual way match the poetry of the griot's language, and it's obvious much deep contemplation has gone into the film's narrative development; one feels as carried away as is the griot, who at movie's end exeunts in canoe down a jungle river.
If there's a flaw, it's not so much that the whole bears an air of self-satisfaction so much as that the telling carries a potential fleetingness; the solemn assertions are so much a product of second-half 20th-century science that one can imagine viewers several centuries hence smiling at our intellectual quaintness, much as we would today smile at the similarly ardent philosophies of 17th-century naturalists. Starring Sotigui Kouyate. Directed and written by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou. Produced by Alain Sarde. A ThinkFilm release. Documentary. French-language; subtitled. Rated G. Running time: 80 min