Creature Features

Good-natured docs hop beaches and coif creatures

An international cast of curious creatures in their native habitats stars in this charming Gallic duo of featurettes. Vivian Ostrovsky's half-hour compendium Ice/Sea is a celluloid aperitif for summertime, combining found footage of the world's beaches with the director's own archive of coastal material. Fun and free-associative, the movie ventures to Rio, Miami, Montpellier, the Dead and Black seas, and elsewhere, keeping a visual diary of lumpy beach bods, boardwalk architecture, and celebrity sightings (Esther Williams, Elvis Presley in his Hawaiian incarnation). Ice/Sea also showcases a zoo's worth of beachcombers: dogs, birds, a marauding tiger, and rounding out the first half of the title, smooching penguins. Enjoy those icebergs while they last!


Animals and More Animals
Directed by Nicolas Philibert

Directed by Vivian Ostrovsky
June 7 through 13, Film Forum

The main characters in Nicolas Philibert's hour-long Animals and More Animals are relics of relics: stuffed beasts stowed away in cabinets and storerooms for the quarter-century since the zoology wing of the Museum of Natural History in Paris closed to the public in 1965. Shot between 1991 and 1994, while the museum's employees readied for a grand reopening, the movie watches the skinning, stuffing, and styling processes and listens in as staffers track down artifacts ("Do you know where I could get a sheep's skull? A male one?") and debate technique (a standoff over dust-proofing the insect displays is particularly tense). Understandably, Philibert is most enamored of the museum's vast collection of unheimlich mammalian heads and grants them many a haunting close-up.


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