25 Jun 2022

Heart of Oak. Shade and Oxygen for Us, Home for Others

The oak at the edge of the forest, considered a symbol of strength and longevity, is the tallest and most imposing tree in the forests of the northern hemisphere - an ecosystem so complex you wouldn't imagine so much could happen. French filmmakers Laurent Charbonnier and Michel Seydoux follow a giant oak tree, some 200 years old, over the course of a year, in which many animals, insects, plants, birds and reptiles live together.

The film presents a land untouched by man, far from the chaos of the city, chainsaws and other industrialised artifice. The editing, together with the sound design, nuances moments of tension inside the oak tree - like small interferences between housemates, while simultaneously capturing love stories from the tree's branches, dancing parties on the leaves or the fright before the storm. Director Laurent Charbonnier's experience in nature documentaries (Animals in Love, Winged Migration) stands out for the unique moments he captures without in any way distorting the circularity of the ecosystem he exploits with great care. The use of long close-ups in chase sequences defines the dynamism of the film, while scenes using the macro lens manage to bring us closer to the character, intensifying their intimate moments.

The film is constructed in a dramatic rather than observational formula, emphasizing life and society as they are, but placed in a non-conformist context, different from what we are already used to. Topics such as education, solidarity and the survival instinct are not absent from the French filmmakers' approach.

The documentary about a different kind of home runs today at 21:45 in Parc Poligon Florești, tomorrow at 19:30 at Mărăști Cinema, and also at 20:30 in Unirii Square, after tonight's TIFF 2022 Awards Gala.