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Odyssée de la Vie

· The film ·

After three weeks of life the embryo is as big as a pinhead but is already beginning to develop the cerebral hemispheres, spinal marrow and a rudimentary heart”. Then it rapidly acquires the shape of a fish, an amphibian, a reptile and after a month the number of its cells has increased from one to a “million, perfectly organized in relation to each other”. 

In the second month its aspect is already human, two “dark protuberances” appear that are the eyes – even though the eyelids are missing – and, while it grows one millimetre a day, the legs and arms are delineated and the tail is withdrawn into the coccyx. It is moving to be able to follow this process – still so mysterious despite the progress made by science – in a film that unites the poetry of the tale with the realism of powerful images, constructed on the computer with the aid of a team of doctors. Filmed in 2005, Odyssée de la Vie [The Odyssey of Life], through the direction of Nils Tavernier, has the immense merit of satisfying one of the greatest human curiosities of all time: what happens in the woman’s abdomen during the nine months that precede the birth? The documentary follows the wait for Giulia, Barbara and Manù’s first daughter, in a continuous cross-reference between inside (the little one’s universe) and outside (the joy, fears and expectations of the parents). The theme of water, the source of life, is central: the bubble that protects Giulia but does not prevent her from hearing the external world and the dolphin water park where her mother works. (@SilviaGusmano)

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