Coloring science outside the lines : the poetry and passion of Jean Painlevé
Frostic, Maria Tucker.
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The majority of current science films for popular audiences follow a formula that can best be described as conventional journalism. Artistic science films are rare, and historically they have generated outrage and distrust by the scientific community. In this paper, I explore the possibility that artful science films are a valid method of conveying the wonders of science to an audience. Underwater French filmmaker Jean Painlevé made films that strike a clever balance between art and science, and this unique fusion of divergent parts results in moving vignettes on the astonishing surreal beauty of the marine world. By considering the origin of the science film, by examining Painlevé's films and philosophy, and by investigating the role of art and science in society, I argue that artistic science films are valid educational tools that should be used to communicate the wonders of science.