Perceptive Documentary

Stuart A Staples interpretative documentary presents the seductive and hypnotic world of micro-cinema pioneer F. Percy Smith, who between 1922 and 1933 developed his own cinematographic and micro-photographic equipment to uncover the secrets of nature in action.

Set to a score performed by Staples band Tindersticks, and accompanied by musicians Thomas Belhom, Christine Ott, David Coulter and Julian Siegel, Minute Bodies draws out the poetic aspect of Smith’s imagery. A difficult documentary to categorise, the feature demands a deeper level of appreciation. Radiating outward from the mono¬chrome images is the indelible impression of the strange yet beautiful essence of nature in action, whilst the score nurtures a spiritual sense of feeling, characterised by a mysterious curiosity.

Staples has crafted a celebration of the filmic medium by unifying the disparate periods of time through images and music. This Dual Format release also features eight short films from the Secrets of Nature series, which were made by Smith and fellow filmmaker Mary Field.

Paul Risker

This review appears in Issue 77 of Aesthetica magazine. For more information or to pick up a copy visit:

1. Trailer for Minute Bodies. Courtesy of BFI Distribution.