Film documentary reveals wildlife in puddle


"We are not able to define exactly what life is but we know for sure that there must have been water at its origin," - those are the first words of an unusual film documentary that was recently presented by its authors at the Czech Academy of Sciences. The film proves that you don't need expensive scuba-diving equipment to be able to see dramatic underwater scenes. It shows that the wildlife in a humble puddle in a South Bohemian forest can be just exciting.

Music and the sounds of the natural world accompany the spectacular scenes of the daily struggle for survival in an ordinary pool of water. The film called "The Puddle" was made by only three people, film director Josef Dlouhy, cameraman Jan Osten, and the co-author of the script was entomologist Frantisek Weyda.

Frantisek Weyda, photo: Pavla HorakovaFrantisek Weyda, photo: Pavla Horakova "In any puddle there are always many various species, from bacteria to higher animals. Of course, it was possible in such a short documentary to show only a few of them. So most of our actors were frogs, diving beetles, water scorpions, water stick insects, water boatmen and the larvae of newts, for instance. Those were the main actors."

Believe me, the scene of a diving beetle larva throttling a water scorpion is just as gripping and scary as watching any sea predator seizing its prey.

The twenty-minute documentary took as long as two years to make, but the filmmakers spent only part of that time on location.

"It was, of course, not continuously. We met not so often during winter and most of our work was [done] in spring and summer when life is the most intensive in such environments as this puddle."

The team used some special filming technologies during the shooting but as they are already planning another similar documentary, entomologist Frantisek Weyda would not disclose more.

"We used classic techniques, like preparation of film with macro-lenses, microscopes and special filters. And also, we used some techniques which are based on our own special know-how and we will use them for the next movie."

As entomologist Frantisek Weyda says the next documentary will be less scientific and more philosophical. In the meantime "The Puddle" complete with an English commentary is looking for an audience outside the Czech Republic.


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