Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
If 2006 is the year of the anti-global-warming documentary, then The White Planet’s contribution is to remind us of the spectacle of the natural world that still surrounds us. Tracing the Arctic seasons and the myriad of creatures that inhabit its vast ice-covered wilderness, the subtext of that spectacle is a powerful one: enjoy the show while it lasts. And what a show it is. The riches on offer range in scale from the intimate to the epic: a polar bear cradling her cubs inside an ice cave; huge herds of reindeer migrating across the tundra, as tiny and vulnerable as a trail of ants. But unlike certain recent documentaries which focus on cuter aspects of polar life, The White Planet is not afraid to bare its fangs. The same polar bear seen cuddling her cubs in an earlier scene is later shown snatching a young seal from inside its snowy refuge and feeding it to her young. An extraordinary documentary, which will stimulate young and old alike – including those jaded souls among us who occasionally need reminding of nature’s magnificence.