• “The wonders never cease in this superb anthology,” exclaims the New York Times’s Dave Kehr in his review of the new Criterion three-disc set Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé. And other critics have been getting along with the new DVD release just as swimmingly.

    Many viewers may not have heard of trailblazing underwater documentarian and avant-gardist Jean Painlevé, but, says Dennis Lim in the Los Angeles Times, his historical importance is undeniable: “Long before the high-definition panoramas of Planet Earth, before even the landmark wildlife documentaries of Richard Attenborough and Jacques Cousteau, a Frenchman named Jean Painlevé was making films that captured the natural world as it had never been seen before.” Lim also notes the inclusion of Yo La Tengo’s eight-film score, “lush, dreamy compositions that add to the amniotic vibe.” And in Artforum, Steve Erickson celebrates the introduction of this pigeonhole-defying filmmaker to a wider American audience.

    Update (6 MAY 09): San Francisco Bay Guardian: “an invaluable survey of the director's most extraordinary aquacades.”

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