Peace With Seals

Self-indulgent to the point of distraction, fanciful, self-anointed "documentary fable"'s emphasis on caprice over pinnipeds renders it a tube or disc curiosity.

With:
With: Stanislav Komarek, Emanuele Coppola, Zbysek Kostak.

The Mediterranean Monk Seal is among the world’s most endangered species, but that fact is lost in the blubber of fanciful, self-anointed “documentary fable” “Peace with Seals.” Self-indulgent to the point of distraction, the pic’s emphasis on caprice over pinnipeds renders it a tube or disc curiosity.

The central question, “Why did the seal disappear from the Mediterranean?” is an interesting one, involving inevitable human interference, but helmer Miloslav Novak and scribe Ferdinand Pitrosu aren’t interested so much in answering it as they are in following around an affable Italian filmmaker named Emanuele Coppola (no relation to Francis). From Sardinia to Turkey, they blunder around, using seal Trojan horses and night vision cameras. Distractions include voiceover readings from and about Karel Capek’s satirical sci-fi story “War of the Newts,” and a recounting of the early 1950s dunking of a seal in Rome’s Trevi Fountain that apparently inspired Fellini to do the same to Anita Ekberg in “La Dolce Vita.” “How many of us really care,” the ineffectual pic wonders, “and what can we do about it?” Tech package is scruffy, with elements of varying quality punctuated by strained animation.

Peace With Seals

Czech Republic

Production: A Dvanact opic production, in association with Panda Film, Czech TV, Avion Film, FAMU. Produced by Jitka Maxova, Helena Machova, Marie Malinova. Directed by Miloslav Novak. Written by Ferdinand Pitrosu.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W) Jakub Halousek, Emanuele Coppola; editor, Adam Brothanek; set designer, Helena Rosova. Reviewed on DVD, Sydney, Australia, April 16, 2008. (In Finale Pilzen Film Festival.) Original title: Mir s tuleni. Czech, Italian dialogue. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: With: Stanislav Komarek, Emanuele Coppola, Zbysek Kostak.

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