It’s been quite the year. The sort that may have left you feeling very much NOT calm. Say hello, then, to a soothing series of slow experiences that are all about unwinding, relaxing, drifting, enjoying…
All you have to do is watch, soaking up stunning visuals while you listen to the soothing tones of stars including Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Lucy Liu: Join a very calm turtle in a glorious underwater world. Get lost in the rhythm of noodle making. Follow the epic migration of birds across the globe.
A World of Calm is a slow TV experience, with each half-hour episode in the 10-part series taking audiences into an immersive visual designed to unwind and relax. And it comes with plenty of calming cred: the series is a collaboration involving the company that makes the meditation/sleep app Calm. (And to make sure your relaxation is a smooth, easy flow, each film will be screened without advertisements.)
Here’s what you can look forward to.
The Bird’s Journey
Narrated by Nicole Kidman
This film was inspired by the breathtaking footage from John Downer Productions and the BBC series Earthflight. It follows the epic migrations of birds across the globe. As we watch snow geese fly thousands of kilometres across North America, we encounter mystical flamingos in Kenya, heart-warming storks in Germany and watch magical starling murmurations engulf the skies of Rome. This episode takes us high into the skies and provides a dazzling perspective on the world down below rarely seen by human eyes.
The Gift of Chocolate
Narrated by Priyanka Chopra
Inspired by the ancient cacao traditions of Central America, we capture the alluring alchemy of chocolate and its metamorphosis from tropical fruit to global delicacy. This transformation takes us all over the world, from the incredible Mayan plantations of Belize and Guatemala to the chocolate shops of Belgium and London, discovering the magic of chocolate from bean to bar.
A Horse’s Tale
Narrated by Kate Winslet
This film transports us into the fascinating world of horses. Using footage from anthropologist turned filmmaker Niobe Thompson, and film director Richard Mullane, we travel from the freezing temperatures of the Arctic Circle to the scorching heat of the Saudi Arabian desert, and explore how horses have adapted to live in some of the world’s most challenging conditions. As we observe their incredible speed, peaceful nature and majestic beauty, we learn crucial lessons about communication, breath and harmonious co-existence.
Narrated by Oscar Isaac
At the artful hands of chef Mutsuko Soma, we watch the creation of a culinary gift – hand-crafted soba noodles. This is a story of a family recipe, lovingly passed down through generations. Moreover, it is a story of how all recipes transcend the list of their ingredients – each bite takes us on a journey revealing ancient traditions, magical landscapes, and the strength of communities that come together to share their food.
Narrated by Cillian Murphy
An enchanting film that invites us into a winter wonderland. Starting with the birth of a single snowflake, we journey through a spectrum of snowscapes from Alaska and the Arctic to Canada and Norway. With breathtaking scenes of transcendent skiing, Inuit way-finding and beautiful mountain artwork, we meet an array of people and animals for whom snow is their way life.
Water, Giver of Life
Narrated by Mahershala Ali
This film begins with rain and follows the course of water as it brings life to people, plants and animals across Africa, before returning to the sea. We witness the transformative nature of water in the blooming desert of Namaqualand and follow elephants as they journey towards the biodiverse marvel of the flooded Okavango Delta.
Living Among Trees
Narrated by Keanu Reeves
Living Among Trees follows master woodworker Rihards Vidzickis as he fulfils his boyhood dream, carving a dugout canoe from a single piece of wood. Set in Latvia, the beautiful and meditative process of building a canoe unfolds over many months. Viewers are encouraged to experience the wonders of the forest through Rihards’ eyes. With the added bonus of Keanu’s vocals.
Narrated by Zoë Kravitz
This factual fairy tale follows the mesmerising process of glassmaker Bibi Smit as she attempts to sculpt a piece that can capture the movement of the wind in glass. From within the sanctuary of the artist’s workshop we revel in sights and sounds of the studio. Whilst observing the careful moulding of molten glass the film drifts on dreamlike tangents, weaving in historical and cultural threads – from the Kilauea lava flows in Hawaii to the serene waterways of renaissance Venice – re-telling the remarkable evolution of glass making.
The Coral City
Narrated by Lucy Liu
This film transports us to the heart of the Coral Triangle, a place where evolution has run wild. Entering a magical underwater world, we explore the magnificent life that calls the coral neighbourhood home, from sleeping turtles to tiny seahorses, and eavesdrop on the chatter of the reef’s residents. As the night draws in, the ocean puts on a dazzling light show and reveals how the corals transform into otherworldly forms.
The Great Beyond
Narrated by Idris Elba
A serene and spiritual journey from Earth to the outer reaches of the universe. From the first outpost on our voyage, the International Space Station, we venture out to reveal the strange worlds of our solar system and far beyond. Breathtakingly beautiful visualisations allow us to immerse ourselves in worlds only glimpsed through our most powerful telescopes. Based on spectacular deep space observations, this film lets us get lost in the true scale of the universe.
Ad-free episodes of A World of Calm screen on SBS from Friday 25 December to Sunday 3 January at 7.30pm. Episodes will be available at SBS On Demand after they air.