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William Kellys War
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, October 23, 2014 - Edition No 920 

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HUMAN BODY, THE

SYNOPSIS:
We follow a day in the life of a London family, including Heather, an American woman who’s pregnant with her first child. As we see the family members eating meals, travelling to work and school, and going about their daily activities, we learn about the complex internal workings of their bodies that allow all this to take place.

Review by Jake Wilson:
Like a spaceship descending into an eerie sci-fi landscape, the camera hovers above the surface of a vast human torso: a grey, mottled, spongy desert, spanning the IMAX screen smoothly curved except for the folds of skin that form the irregular crater of the navel.

Where most IMAX films focus on obviously spectacular landscapes, The Human Body uses the large format in a more interesting way, to reveal the hidden grandeur of everyday existence. Even if it misses as many opportunities as it takes up, it’s probably the most striking IMAX film I’ve seen.

In terms of content, it’s basically a high school science lecture, complete with believe-it-or-not facts about the rate of hair growth or the activity of red blood cells. Adults may be put off by this tone and approach, yet fascinated by the variety of techniques used to visualise the body as not only a planet to itself, but also a machine, a labyrinth, a temple... So many different techniques are used to generate fantastic images - X-rays, electron microscopy, heat-sensitive photography, and so on - that the distinction between live-action film and digital animation becomes almost irrelevant: there’s no ‘natural’ way of rendering phenomena that are normally invisible to the human eye.

Providing idyllic glimpses of family life while placing bodily functions on blatant public display, the film shares certain preoccupations with recent gross-out comedies and sexually themed art films: our most intimate acts and emotions are shown as inseparable from the hard facts of biology. Yet despite a few mildly disgusting moments (such as a shot of food getting squished in the stomach) the treatment of sexual and excretory processes is notably coy. As we follow Heather’s pregnancy throughout the film, we’re led to expect a graphic finale to top Catherine Breillat’s Romance, yet in the event the birth sequence shies away from anything anatomical. Maybe the filmmakers decided to respect the privacy of their subject - or maybe they were advised to aim for a G rating.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

HUMAN BODY, THE (PG)
(UK)

NARRATOR: Dr. Robert Winston

CAST: Heather Pike, Buster Pike, Zannah Lawrence, Luke Brinkers

PRODUCERS: Richard Dale, Peter Georgi

DIRECTOR: Peter Georgi

SCRIPT: Richard Dale

CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Barlow, Reed Smoot

EDITOR: Peter Parnham

MUSIC: Anne Dudley

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tim Goodchild

RUNNING TIME: 40 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IMAX

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 21, 2002 (Melb)







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