I did it. And I’m really glad that I did.
In an effort to get more of a taste for the biodiversity and culture of Madagascar, my dad and I went to see the new documentary film “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” at the California Science Center this past weekend. Plus, who doesn’t love a movie about cute fuzzy ancient primates?
Here’s the official trailer for the film, in case you’re not familiar with it:
The film was really well put together and did a fantastic job of showcasing the story of the lemurs. Despite the stunning visual images and landscapes, this documentary presented the evolutionary path of lemurs in a simple and easy to understand way. The filmmakers chose to focus on only a handful of the many species of lemurs, which brought more depth and emotion to the storyline. Issues such as habitat conservation and species survival were highlighted to emphasis the notion that these animals are such a strong part of the Malagasy story.
As a (very!) soon-to-be PCV in Madagascar, seeing this film was a great way for me to get more familiar with the country that will be my home for the next 27 months. I’ve seen some pictures, heard some stories, but I have never seen the country come alive like I saw in this film. To see a glimpse of the villages, the markets, the people, the landscape, this was a real treat for me. The film definitely focused on the lemurs and their natural habitats, but the short scenes in towns and on public transportation was of extra special interest to me. It was a way for me to further imagine myself immersed in that culture. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little choked up as I took in the opening scenes of large wafting views of the Malagasy landscapes. The expansive valleys, the lush forests, and the pronounced rock formations sent chills down my spine and reminded me that I will soon be a part of that beautiful culture.
I would definitely recommend seeing this film if you have the chance. It seems to be in limited release right now at some IMAX theaters, but it’s worth a shot if it’s in your area. I really enjoyed the experience to learn more about lemurs as a close evolutionary relative of humans and to see the nation of Madagascar in a new light. It was another experience that did not frighten me, but helped reaffirm my excitement and willingness to immerse myself in this opportunity. One more step toward my so-called Malagasy life.
Can you believe it took me this long to use that reference?!