Part of SFFILM Festival
Minute Bodies: The Intimate Lives of F. Percy Smith
San Francisco, CA 94103 United States
Scientist F. Percy Smith pioneered “micro-cinema”—building his own equipment for time-lapse photography and other techniques to film plants and organisms at a microscopic level. Weaving together Smith’s black-and-white found footage from the 1920s and ’30s, with the accompaniment of a new score by Tindersticks, director (and Tindersticks frontman) Stuart A. Staples crafts a hypnotic ode to the beauty of nature, with Smith’s respect and admiration for science at its core. Screens with Passerine in Time (Laurids Andersen Sonne, Denmark/USA 2018, 8 mins).
“Minute Bodies is all the more delicious for that, being a sticky montage of monochrome imagery: the buds and stems and cells and eggs of the natural world, suspended in silence against the blackness of the film frame. Sprouting seeds bud delicately furred roots in the darkness of the soil; a flower with quivering petals opens to reveal its veined heart; the globular tips of slime fungus glisten in the gloom, with pin-point reflections on their sleek surfaces creating alien eyes. Elsewhere vines wind around nearby branches, a tadpole bursts from its jelly shell and cells divide and multiply, pulsing in unison like an infinite chorus line.” – Pamela Hutchinson, BFI
Stuart A. Staples, guitarist and singer with the band Tindersticks, has been a frequent collaborator with Claire Denis, composing music for The Intruder (Festival 2005), White Material (Festival 2010), Bastards (2013), Let the Sunshine In (2017), and High Life (Festival 2019). Minute Bodies: The Intimate Lives of F. Percy Smith is his directorial debut.