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Released in France a year after the French nature documentary Microcosmos, which shows insects magnified, Shapes of the Invisible glimpses a different but equally magical miniscule world using the same approach. Twenty-two independently filmed materials and objects are magnified thousands of times until we see their uncannily similar atomic structures. Beginning with inanimate matter like steel, brass, and concrete, Shapes of the Invisible gets more advanced with each skit, saving the strangest and best objects, the living (an eyeball, a butterfly wing, a human hand, a mushroom, corn), for last. Beginning with what the naked eye perceives, a camera fitted with microscopes fluidly zooms in on items, as in the Eames film Powers of Ten, but advances in microscopy and computer technology have allowed French directors Gabriel Turkieh and Jean-Michel Sanchez to visually prove that the "apparent diversity of matter is an illusion," as Turkieh says in the DVD's liner notes. Intelligent, poetic narration and a "making-of" featurette are added bonuses to watching this exquisite scientific film. Meant to entertain and educate kids and adults, Shapes of the Invisible offers profound evidence for the interconnectedness of everything on Earth.

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FAC88514 Shapes of the Invisible DVD (1997/Pierre Oscar Levy) $29.95 $26.99