In the frigid valleys of Japan’s Shiga Highlands, a troop of snow monkeys functions in a complex society of rank and privilege where each knows his and her place. Their leader is still new to the job and something of a solitary grouch. One innocent little monkey, unaware of his own low status, reaches out to this lonely leader and they form a rare and remarkable bond that alters both their lives. Changing seasons bring new babies, family disagreements and tragedies. Mating season brings competition for females as the days grow shorter and colder in the rush to winter. With their now confident leader to guide them and their families to shelter and care for them, these snow monkeys are ready to face the world.
Choreographer Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty marks the choreographer’s return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete his acclaimed reinterpretations of the composer’s trio of masterworks that began in 1992 with Nutcracker! and followed in 1995 with Swan Lake. This timeless fairy tale about a princess cursed to sleep for a hundred years was adapted into a ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa in 1890. In a highly theatrical production, Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the story at the height of the fin de siècle epoch when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination. As the heroine Aurora matures into a young woman, the period shifts to the confines of the Edwardian era. Decades later, awakening from her century-long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day — a world she finds more mysterious and wonderful than any fairy tale. Bourne’s haunting new scenario is a romance for all ages.
This film examines a world wonder so elusive that most people have decided it must be mythical. Centuries of digging have turned up nothing — but the searchers were digging in the wrong place. Now, this film proves that the spectacular Hanging Gardens of Babylon did exist, shows where they were, what they looked like and how they were constructed.
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