After a lifetime's study, two years designing equipment and three years spent shooting knee-high to a grass-hopper, French biologists-turned- film-makers Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou have completed Microcosmos - which is released on Friday - a film which takes one tiny patch of French meadow and turns it into Jurassic Park. There's no computer- animated trompe l'oeil in this epic, however, just magnified moments from a day in the life of exotic A-list aphids, and such camera-hungry starlets as Ladybird with Seven Spots, Argiope Spider and Rhinoceros Beetle. If just reading this cast of creepy-crawlies has you reaching for your insecticide, fear not. Aware of popular "pest" preconceptions, the sympathetic film-makers have avoided "carnage, hunting and moments of violence" for a rather more lyrical view of their

miniature movie stars. Instead of the documentary myth of a world that is "cruel, amoral, terrifying", viewers will be treated to such tender moments as slimy snail love on a moss bed, and an ant struggling to drink a dewdrop. Only the occasional aerial shot breaks the movie's mesmerising bugs'-eye view which, unencumbered by any Attenborough-style hallowed whispering, lets one ponder in peace such compelling pastoral scenes as ants milking greenflies for their nectar. Nuridsany and Perennou's attempts to "rehabilitate the reputation of insects" has paid off in France at least, where the movie has already attracted an audience of more than 2.5 million. So whether you're an amateur entymologist or a Little Miss Muffet go, you'll have a field day.

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