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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.