Scientist/innovator Jean Painlevé was one of the first people to develop underwater-camera technology for the purpose of photographing the amazing diversity of marine life. Collected here are 23 short films that reveal the magical splendor of aquatic worlds rarely seen, where octopus, sea horses, mollusks, and other denizens of the ocean frolic and perform a kind of beautifully eerie tidal ballet.
Restored and digitized in pristine detail by Criterion, the films collected here reveal the technical genius and vibrant creative energies of Painlevé, a polymath with a special interest in zoology and mathematics. Eight of the shorts are accompanied by a fluid, ethereal score performed by indie rockers Yo La Tengo, which heightens the mystery and majesty of all the nature to be observed in each carefully structured, aesthetically refined segment. Who says art and science aren't made for each other?