The Meerkats (PG), James Honeyborne (83 mins)

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The Independent Culture

How can you not love a meerkat?

There’s something incomparably sweet about the burglar-mask eyes, the guardsman-stiff posture, the inquisitive twitch of the head – and something weirdly human, too. This documentary, narrated by Paul Newman, focusesuponayoung meerkat, Kolo, and his fight for survival against eagles, cobras, lions and rival gangs of meerkats, not to mention the punishing heat and aridity of the Kalahari: just looking at those roasted desert plains makes you thirsty. The narrative, shaped to Hollywood tastes, lags some way behind the beautiful nature photography and the comical majesty of the meerkat on guard, poking his head above a hidey-hole like a periscope over a parapet. These pictures don’t really need any words.