News / Science & Technology

In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survivali
X
Rosanne Skirble
April 22, 2014 12:55 PM
French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.

In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

Rosanne Skirble
French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary March of the Penguins.

Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival.

He calls Once Upon a Forest 'a visual poem' that conveys the wonder of the rainforest, “just to say once again how these forests are amazing, how they are fascinating, how they are in balance.” He spent five months with his crew filming in majestic forests in Gabon and Peru.

Jacquet teams with famed French botanist Francis Halle to tell the forests' story, which opens with the 75-year-old Halle calmly drawing on his sketch pad. He is perched 70 meters up in the parasol-like crown of a Moabi tree in Gabon's Congo River Basin.
 
In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival
In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Jacquet says his work on the film helped him understand for the first time what Halle has been preaching for decades, that trees have their own way to be alive.

“When you think this way," Jacquet said, "you discover a new universe, a universe of trees.  It is interesting because at that point you begin to start to think that this is not the animals who are the kings of the forest. The trees are the kings of the forest.”  

The movie captures the life story of the rain forest. Within that tale are dozens of actors - a parade of leaf-cutting ants, a fruit-eating, seed-dropping monkey, a jaguar that prowls across the screen with stealthy steps and vines that entangle a mighty strangler fig tree to make way for another giant to take its place in the forest.

Some of those events can take hundreds of years in tree time, so Jacquet speeds them up by animating Halle’s drawings and mixing them with close-up live action.
 
  • The world’s largest and most colorful monkey species, the Mandrill, may also be the most elusive like this one in Gabon. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)
  • Lianas are long-stemmed, woody vines rooted in the soil that climb or twine around other plants. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)
  • French botanist Francis Halle, here sketching a giant Moabi, is later hoisted into its canopy during the filming of Once Upon a Forest. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)
  • The canopy of the majestic Moabi stands out in the Congo River Basin forest landscape. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)
  • Moabi fruits are eaten, the bark is used for medicinal purposes and cooking oil is extracted from the seeds for sale and domestic use. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)
  • Inselbergs are enormous rocks that stick out above the rainforest like islands, sometimes rising several hundred meters above the vegetation, shown here in northeastern Gabon. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)
  • Gabon, which is covered nearly entirely by rainforest, is one of few places on Earth where a primary tropical rainforest extends all the way to the beach. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)
  • Straddling the equator, Gabon’s Ivindo National Park has some of the most impenetrable rainforests and wildest rivers on Earth. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)
  • French director Luc Jacquet created the non-profit foundation Wild-Touch in 2010 to promote environmental conservation through film and other media. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)
  • French botanist Francis Halle (right) has watched the rapid disappearance of the rainforest over his lifetime and challenged filmmaker Luc Jacquet (left) to tell its story. (Credit: ©Wild-Touch, Sarah Del Ben, 2012)

Inside all this imagery is a world where every plant and every animal is intimately connected with one another.  Trees keep this ever-growing, ever-changing family in balance.

The filmmaker finds the interaction amazing.

"We start to understand the language of the trees and the language of the flowers," he said. "There is a very complex chemical substance in the forest, and we know that trees are not talking with words, they are talking with scents and they are able to mix this scent like words to make a text, and they are able to exchange messages. They are able to modify the behavior of animals with this substance.”

Jacquet captures the magic of a fleeting cloud or the dazzle of sunlight streaming through a break in the canopy in exquisite detail, with sweeps across grand vistas and close-ups that travel the length of a single tree, shot by remote cameras mounted on small flying drones.

The filmmaker sews these scenes together to put the soul of the forest on the big screen. He says walking its hallowed grounds and following its daily rituals tap into what it means to be human.

“There is something very ancient in our brain," Jacquet said. "I guess this is an idea, but I think we are deeply made to be there.”  

And, if people can forge that bond with nature, Jacquet says, to see themselves as part of the forest and not alien to it, we are a step closer to saving the rainforest rather than becoming an agent in its demise. 

Once Upon a Forest is being shown worldwide at film festivals, is in commercial release in Europe, and will be seen later this year in Asia and Latin America.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid