Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  53 minutes
Date:  2003
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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The Matrix of Life

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Suzuki travels the world exploring our intimate relationship with water and air.

The Matrix of Life

Water and air move endlessly together in a shifting dance of shape and place, atoms linking and de-linking to form ocean and atmosphere, transported across the face of the planet by winds. Water and air: these elements are the pre-requisites of life - life is made from them and life helped create and still maintains them.

In this episode, David Suzuki travels around the world, exploring our intimate relationship with water and air. His journey begins on the banks of the sacred Ganges River in India, a river that supports the lives of 400 million people. With the guidance of Dr. Veer Bhadra Mishra, a Hindu priest and hydrological engineer, David is introduced to the Hindu worldview - a view that sees water, air and all life on Earth as part of a matrix.

With the guidance of some of the world's leading scientists, David explores this matrix. In Las Vegas, David discovers the Fantasy City in the desert built on water. In South Africa, he descends three kilometers into the deepest gold mine on Earth to examine the mysterious microbes extracted from water in the rock. It's true: the Earth is alive - and life may have originated in the heat and water in its rocks.

With geomicrobiologist Tullis Onstott, chemist Richard Saykally, astrobiologist Malcolm Walter, NASA scientist Michael Keller, and ecologist David Schindler.

The other titles in this series are:
Journey into New Worlds - Suzuki celebrates the birth of a new scientific worldview that is holistic rather reductionist.
The Fire of Creation - Suzuki explores the latest scientific findings which amplify the age-old reverence for the sun.
Coming Home - Suzuki explores biophilia -- the innate, hereditary need of human beings to affiliate with nature.

'THE SACRED BALANCE is a spiritual, holistic and almost poetic take on the science of the planet...it launch[es] the viewer's mind into a different space.' Liane Faulder, The Edmonton Journal

'Suzuki's talent has always been to take broad scientific topics and decipher and deliver them to viewers in plain, accessible terms. He's very good at it...while there's much to digest in this series, his tone is always patient and pragmatic' Andrew Ryan, The Globe and Mail

'The Sacred Balance is a challenge to all who watch it, a cornucopia of amazing comments and predictions. It's designed to make you think.' Jim Bawden, Toronto Star, Starweek Magazine

'Stunning cinematography and state of the art computer graphics' Andrea Nemetz, Halifax Chronicle Herald

'An enthralling, beautifully shot series...It's one of the most important and engrossing programs you'll see all year... [it] might very well go down as the crowning achievement in the career of David Suzuki.' Basem Boshra, The Montreal Gazette

'A timeless piece, brilliantly conceived and executed, and an example of science and environment exposition at its best.' E.O.Wilson, Harvard University

'Strikingly beautiful and sometimes even profound...[it] becomes increasingly affecting as it piles up scientific research with remarkable dexterity.' Tony Atherston, The Ottawa Citizen

'Recommended' Educational Media Reviews Online

'[A] captivating examination of how the Earth's systems interact and depend on one another...Approaching the subject from a wide variety of cultural and philosophical viewpoints, Suzuki makes the point that we are a vital part of this 'web of life, ' and challenges viewers to feel that connection and then change the way we act towards our planet.' Teacher Librarian

'Features stunning visuals and is unique in providing a multicultural perspective and philosophical points of view not usually studied with science.' School Library Journal


National Primetime Broadcast on PBS
Science and Society Prize, International Television Science Program Festival, Paris
Golden Sheaf Award, Best Science/Nature, Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival
The Chris Statuette, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
Nominated for Gemini Award
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Planet in Focus, Toronto International Environmental Film Festival
Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival
Seeing Science Film Festival, Milan
The Wine Country Film Festival
The Green Festival, Washington DC


Main credits

Crossland, Harvey (film director)
McConnell, Amanda (screenwriter)

Other credits

Director of photography, Brian Rougeau, Neville Ottey; editor, Michael Fuller; music composed by John Welsman.

Distributor credits

Robert Lang

Robert Lang

Directed by Harvey Crossland, Barry Greenwald, Len Gilday, Robert Lang, Michelle Metivier
Produced by Kensington Communications in association with Sacred Balance Productions
Produced in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Public Broadcasting Service, the National Science Foundation and Vision TV and Canal D
Series Host and Narrator: David Suzuki
Creative Producer/Writer: Amanda McConnell

Docuseek2 subjects

Marine Biology
Physical Geography
Oceans and Coasts
Rivers and Lakes
Social Aspects

Distributor subjects

Environmental Ethics
Oceans and Coasts
Science, Technology, Society


Suzuki, water, air, Ganges, India, Hindu, Veer Bhadra Mishra, Las Vegas, South Africa, gold mine, Shark Bay, Amazon, Jasper National Park, Tullis Onstott, Richard Saykally, Malcolm Walter, NASA, Michael Keller, David Schindler; "The Matrix of Life"; Bullfrog Films

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