My Garden of a Thousand Bees
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Taking refuge from the pandemic a wildlife filmmaker sets out to record the incredible variety of wild bees in his small garden, finally developing a close relationship with an individual bee that he has followed over its entire life.
Martin Dohrn is an expert at exploring the macroscopic world; his last project on ants with David Attenborough won awards around the world. This time, he unravels a bee filled universe inhabited by winged creatures of every size and shape. From giant bumblebees to scissor bees the size of a mosquito, he has seen over 60 species of bee in his backyard. As he gets sucked into this world, he narrates with the charm and informative voice of a man obsessed. Filmed with one-of-a-kind lenses forged on his kitchen table, this film illuminates its audience with unique natural history insights, and depths of behaviors never recorded before.
Most people think of bees as honeybees, but the truth is the majority of bees live very different lives. These are the ‘wild’ bees who make their homes in tunnels underground or holes carved in wood. Most wild bees are solitary, single mothers, with their own tiny broods hidden in a nest. But there are ‘sex crazed’ male bees who also feature in this endearing film, adding comedy and drama of their own.
Only after spending hundreds of hours in the garden can Martin slowly habituate the different bees to his special periscope lenses. Martin observes how differences in behavior among these special bees sets them apart from each other, and sometimes gets them into trouble. Eventually, Martin is able to get so close he can identify different individuals just by looking at them – giving them names, and uncovering their unique characters.
Intrigued by the intelligence of one particular female, he pushes the boundaries of intimacy: filming through the course of her life, he travels to a different dimension and observes the world on her level. As he records the extraordinary details of her life , Martin’s way of viewing insects is changed forever. It is hard to watch this film without having a new perspective on the world around you.