Young Albert, who lives in the mountains with his parents and his sister Jeanne and brother Samuel, recently decided that our education would not be complete until we had seen something of the private lives of insects and had appreciated that very small things can be really beautiful.

To help us with this objective, he posted us two DVDs:

Here is the artwork (illustrations) for the box-covers of the films, which gives you some idea of what’s inside.

Minuscule DVD 1 Season 1Minuscule - The Valley of the Lost Ants

So we set aside an evening, lit the fire, put our feet up and watched them. Wow! There’s no language, no words, no English and no French. But there are some absolutely lovely stories told with bright and beautiful images and quite amazing animation.

The Private Life of Insects is a sequence of short animations about a ladybird (conccinelle), a grass hopper (sauterelle), ants (fourmis), snails (escargots) and wasps (guêpes). Each episode has a beautifully simple story with wonderfully unexpected turns. Each is drawn beautifully. The different creatures are accompanied by suitable sound effects (bruitage). Wasps, for example, zip about like fighter planes (avions de chasse) or like mopeds (mobylettes). But the best thing is the sheer (pur) inventiveness (inventivité) and the playfulness (espièglerie).

The 85 minute long The Valley of the Lost Ants is a single story, which is mostly about ants (as the name implies). Other insects make an appearance - as does a box of sugar, some matches (allumettes) and spectacular fireworks (feu d’artifice) - and the general atmosphere of the film is very similar to the earlier Miniscule films. Being a longer film, it benefits from some of the visual ideas being developed in greater detail.

Both films come from the French animation studio Futurikon and there is something especially French about these films. The way that the insects are animated against a background (fond) of real natural scenes (scènes naturelles véritables) is very special. We recommend them highly. Don’t miss the buzz! They are a celebration of nature.

Albert's brightly-coloured birds

Albert had already made it clear that he has an interest in design and detail, as you can see from one of the drawings he left us, above. There’s lots of colour and a splendid imagination at work here. It really is easy to be reminded of Albert when we see these films! Thank you, Albert! Your birds are surely ant-eating birds!

What with Jeanne’s trombone and violin playing and Samuel’s guitar playing, we are talking about a talented (talentueux) family!