Minute Bodies: The Intimate World Of F. Percy Smith

Directed by Stuart A. Staples

55 minutes / B&W
Release: 2018
Copyright: 2016

This meditative, immersive film by tindersticks' Stuart A. Staples is a tribute to the astonishing work and achievements of naturalist, inventor and pioneering British filmmaker F. Percy Smith (1880-1945).

Based in a studio in north London in the early years of the 20th century, Percy Smith developed the use of time-lapse, animation and micro-photographic techniques to capture nature's secrets in action. He worked in a number of public roles, including the Royal Navy and British Instructional Films, Smith was prolific and driven, often directing several films simultaneously, apparently on a mission to explore and capture nature's hidden terrains.

Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith is an interpretative work that combines Smith's original film footage - preserved within the BFI National Archive - with a new contemporary score by tindersticks with Thomas Belhom and Christine Ott. It creates a hypnotic, alien yet familiar dreamscape that connects us to the sense of wonder Smith must have felt as he peered through his own lenses and saw these micro-worlds for the first time.

"A beautiful hypnotic melange." Patrick Barkham, The Guardian

"Rich and strange; a cinema of revelation."Michael Barrett, Pop Matters

"Seeps under the audience's skins and into their veins." Pamela Hutchinson, Sight & Sound

"Wondrous! With a pop music mentality, Staples adds many hues to the sense of the sublime inherent in Percy Smith's [awe-inducing] work." Tanner Tafelski, Hyperallergic

"Recommended! Smith's moons, planets and shooting stars will captivate and stay with you after the film is over." Jim Hobbs, Loyola University, in the journal Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)

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A film by Stuart A. Staples
Score by tindersticks

Select Accolades

  • 2019 San Francisco Film Festival
  • 2019 Cleveland Humanities Festival
  • 2018 Vancounver International Film Festival
  • 2017 International Film Festival Rotterdam
  • 2017 Goteburg Film Festival
  • 2017 Thessaloniki Film Festival
  • 2017 CPH:DOX Documentary Film Festival
  • 2017 AUDI Dublin International Film Festival 
  • 2016 BFI London Film Festival


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