Visionary scientist Diana Beresford-Kroeger takes us on a journey to the ancient forests of the northern hemisphere, revealing the profound connection that exists between trees and human ...
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Visionary scientist Diana Beresford-Kroeger takes us on a journey to the ancient forests of the northern hemisphere, revealing the profound connection that exists between trees and human life and the vital ways that trees sustain all life on the planet.
A very beautiful and brilliantly filmed epistle to trees (and the world!)
I saw this last night in Kingston at the wonderful Screening Room and by the end, I was left speechless. It is definitely one of the best documentaries I've ever seen (and I've seen tons). By the end of it, I was convinced that this could become a kind of sleeper hit, even a cult phenomenon, along the lines of A Portrait of Jason, namely if given enough momentum. Let me outline why:
1) Some shots reminded me of the best from nature documentaries, like Microcosmos, and some other great nature documentaries I've seen, like Planet Earth. Anyone who's a nature lover should check it out. Bring the kids. Bring the village. Find out why trees are indispensable to our survival.
2) The quirky uniqueness of it: our Heroine (and I do emphatically mean Heroine with a capital H) hosts this documentary with such blood and bones fervour that it reminded me of another cult documentary, The Hellstrom Chronicle (more of a Darwinian satire). Only this documentary is for real. Very real (especially by the end). You are onboard from start to finish.
The different effects used in the film I feel do not detract from the film, as when she enchantingly outlines chemicals we find in trees. It adds to its whimsy. As an educator myself, I felt this to be pedagogy at its best. It reminded me of Wenders' Salt of the Earth, when Sebastiao Delgado looks through a screen and is filmed interacting with his own photographs.
And when Diana interviews a mother with her child near a riverbed full of wooden detritus? Find out what is original and so upsetting about this Mother Earth-like scene.
3) The urgency of it: by the end, did I think it was too didactic or overly prescriptive? Absolutely not. Perhaps a quasi-cynical critic would deem it so for weighing the film's merits over its message, as many are wont to do when a documentary imbues its ends with urgency. But the film, on its own with its stream of images, easily can outweigh its message up and until its final remedy for the planet. It's up to you by then if your heart can hop along and consider seriously this woman's plea.
4) The beauty of it: From the first shot to the last, it is truly beautiful. The closeups are fantastic, the animation is spotless, the aerial shots crucial. Right when we slide from the vertigo of our collective asphalt jungle into the timelessness of green trees within a city at the beginning of the film, it's a statement.
5) The message of it: the beauty you are afforded in this film is bittersweet once you realize that so much of it is gone. Just gone.
So find a way to see it.
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