Apex Goes to the Movies – Take 3!
Posted by Carmin Arnot
in Of Interest
It has now been months since the studios have released a major motion picture. Luckily, we live in a world where anyone with an internet connection can call up virtually any movie ever made. But with so many choices, how do you find a good one?
Well, you’ve trusted our leaders in the field when they’ve identified a nondescript bird or edible wild plant; wouldn’t you trust them for movie recommendations? We asked them to name their favorite documentary and feature films; here’s what Diogo and Richard had to say.
Diogo Lucatelli’s recommendations
Best Wildlife Documentary: Jaguars—Brazil’s Super Cats
I worked on a jaguar research project with NGO Onçafari for a year, and never really left the team completely. After I got back to guiding, they engaged in what, at the time, seemed an impossible endeavor: rewilding two orphaned female Jaguars. Jaguars have very complex lives and even the wild ones raised by their mothers in nature take time to learn to hunt, kill and relate to other Jaguars. Teaching that to rescued cubs sounded surreal to me.
This documentary by BBC, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, tells the story of how a passionate group of biologists and conservationists took on this mission as their own, sharing the difficulties the Jaguars as well as the team went through during this quest. Jaguar footage was captured at Porto Jofre in the Northern Pantanal and Caiman Ecological Refuge in Southern Pantanal, both part of Apex’s Brazil itinerary. I am so connected to this story—and proud of the team which had the honor of being narrated by Sir David himself—that I had to share this one! You can watch the documentary on Vimeo through this link: Jaguars—Brazil’s Super Cats.
Best Feature Film: Captain Fantastic
This American comedy-drama starring Viggo Mortensen is centered around a family—a couple and their 6 children of all ages—who live off grid, ‘close-to-nature’, but under a rigid, disciplined, plus highly intellectual and idealistic way of life. There is joy and harmony in their lives, but a twist forces the family into reintegrating into society after ten years in the woods. The cracks show as the family faces difficulties while trying to re-adapt to ‘normal’ life, showcasing the beauty and innocence of the varied personalities. A captivating, out-of-the-ordinary movie which remains one of the best I’ve seen.
Another Recommendation: Jago: A Life Underwater
This movie/documentary which I discovered by chance on Netflix turned out to be a deeply immersive experience for me. Rohani, an 80-year-old Bajau sea nomad, is your storyteller. He narrates a life spent sailing Southeast Asia’s Coral Triangle, harpooning in deep water, relying only on his lungs for air supply. A master storyteller, he leads us through the secrets and beauty of his craft but also diving into the waters of his family dramas. To make it better, the story was also portrayed by true local sea nomads like himself. It is not a large budget production, and probably most of those people had never been in front of a camera, which made the film even more precious to me.
Richard Visser’s recommendations
Best Wildlife Documentary: Vanishing Kings—Lions of the Namib
This absolutely incredible documentary was filmed between 2011 and 2015. The aim of the documentary was to capture an in-depth behavioral film about the Desert Lions of Namibia. The film makers spent over two years in the field, following a specific pride of desert lions. It is a true story about five young male lions on their long and arduous journey to adulthood.
Having worked as a full-time field guide at various reserves across southern Africa, I have had the privilege of watching prides grow and diminish right in front of my eyes. Although one should never ‘get attached’, when you have watched a set of cubs grow from birth to adulthood and seen all the trials and tribulations that they have gone through to get there, it’s kind of hard not to get attached. I suppose that’s why Vanishing Kings appealed to me so much. These lions go through absolute hell just to make it to adulthood, and by the end of the film, they are still not even fully fledged adult male lions in their prime, they still need to make that journey. In the life of a lion, nothing is given, everything needs to be fought for. They need to bite and fight and claw their way to survival. So, to see them defeating all the odds, and making it all the way to adulthood, really is something truly special. Apart from all of that, the cinematography is just unbelievable. The footage that they were able to capture of these shy and elusive animals, in a very sparse and barren landscape is truly astounding.
Best Feature Film: Goodwill Hunting
The film follows 20-year-old South Boston janitor Will Hunting (Matt Damon) an unrecognized genius, who as part of a deferred prosecution agreement after assaulting a police officer, becomes a client of a therapist (Robin Williams) and studies advanced mathematics with a renowned professor (Stellan Skargård). Through his therapy sessions Will re-evaluates his relationships with his best friend (Ben Affleck), his girlfriend (Minnie Driver) and himself, facing the significant task of confronting his past, and thinking about his future.
The whole film really appealed to me as it’s a classic case of people judging a book by its cover. Will Hunting is a very unassuming character and I think in many ways, may initially not realize just how smart or intelligent he truly is. He hangs around with his dead-beat friends, drinking beers, looking for trouble and working a dead-end job, when he could quite literally be anything that he wanted to be. He is overlooked by everyone at the school where he works simply due to the fact that he is a janitor, when in reality, he is in fact smarter and better at mathematics than their world-renowned mathematician. It’s only through spending time with his therapist as well as the mathematician that he comes to realize and appreciate his full potential, but on his terms, and nobody else’s.