Darwin (1992)


"Darwin has given man such a short communicable history and such a long uncommunicable prologue that looking back is no comfort. Looking forward is no comfort either, because evolution appears so directionless, and so apparently purposeless. Darwin has finally put man irredeemably out on his own... Darwin has given us a freedom that no social or religious programme has ever given us, for, if man is on his own, then all the checks we relied on to excuse or explain our own shortcomings and mediocrities have been removed. We are, at least, now free for what we want to be." - Tableau 17

This film follows the life and times of Sir Charles Darwin via a series of 18 tableaux. There are many actors, but they do not speak any dialogue. The only voice we hear is a narrator describing to us. Each of the tableaux is perfectly staged as one long take. It follows all the major stages of Darwin's life, from his journey around the world, his marriage, the publication of The Origin of Species, to his burial at Westminster Abbey.

Tableau 1  In which Darwin's inheritance is considered.Tableau 2  In which Darwin considers a career in medicine.Tableau 3  In which Darwin, like any other Victorian English gentleman, shoots anything that flies.Tableau 4  In which some implications of the Industrial Revolution are considered.

Tableau 5  In which the effects of a new social order are considered.Tableau 6  In which social justice is considered.Tableau 7  In which nineteenth century attitudes to the Creation of the World are considered.Tableau 8  In which pre-Darwinian revolution theory is considered.

Tableau 9  In which Darwin takes a journey around the world in HMS Beagle.Tableau 10  In which Darwin considers some principles of evolution.Tableau 11  In which Darwin arranges his domestic life.Tableau 12  In which Darwin's attitude to his children shaped his beliefs.

Tableau 13  In which the effects of the contemporary political climate and social unrest influence Darwin.Tableau 14  In which Darwin's persistent ill-health is considered.Tableau 15  In which the publication of The Origin of Species is considered.Tableau 16  In which Darwin's Theory of Evolution is considered relevant to our present understanding of ourselves.

Tableau 17  In which Darwin's ideas have changed the significance of man.Tableau 18  In which Darwin, the atheist, is buried with honour in Westminster Abbey.







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