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|Originaltitel:||Il etait une foret|
|Laufzeit:||Approx. 78 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years|
Filmmaker Luc Jacquet, who revealed the blockbuster potential of nature documentaries with "The Journey of the Penguins" and also told a particularly beautiful story from the animal world with "The Fox and the Girl", invites his viewers once again to a fascinating journey into nature. Together with botanist and ecologist Francis Hallé, Jaquet traces the evolutionary history of a primeval forest in "The Secret of Trees". With the help of fascinating landscape and detail shots as well as integrated animations, he shows how long it takes for a tree to reach maturity, which symbioses it enters into with animals and other plants or how important its unavoidable decay is for the emergence of new life. The jungle habitat with all its flora and its small and large inhabitants is explained in an entertaining and visually wonderful way.
The interested viewer is taught secrets that are probably completely new to most people, while other findings are almost part of general knowledge. The film was shot in the Manú National Park in Peru. This environment proved to be almost perfect, as a single hectare of rainforest is home to more than 220 different tree species and the national park also has an enormous variety of birds, insects, amphibians and reptiles. Another filming location was Gabon's tropical rainforest in the middle of the Congo basin, where there are still giant trees over 70 metres high, whose gigantic trunks can have a diameter of several metres. The Moabi tree, which lives here, takes 600 years to reach its full size and is therefore a truly perfect candidate to show viewers "The Secret of the Trees".
There is no question that such locations provide fantastic images. The fact that Luc Jaquet, as in his previous films, transported them onto the screen in an instructive, entertaining and simply wonderful way is just as undeniable. However, the integration of intentionally artificial animations does not really work. Although they support the information content, they tend to disturb the real images with their almost technical simplicity. Even if Jacquet wanted to clearly separate the animations from the real shots, for example in order not to distort the excellent work of the camera team, in the end the impression remains that there should have been a less "artificial" solution for the visual realization of the evolutionary story of a jungle.
Very well chosen is the narrative voice of Bruno Ganz, who leads through the film in a calm, unagitated way. Not only his voice is extremely pleasant, but also the fact that the texts are not too scientific-dry, but also not too childlike-simplified, but like the film as a whole find the perfect balance between entertainment and information. Thus "The Secret of the Trees" has become a really nice documentary, in which only the artificial animations and the oversupply of other representatives of this genre stand in the way of an unrestrictedly positive overall impression. Nevertheless, for all lovers of nature films, it is essential to watch them in the cinema, because only on the big screen can the full power of the great pictures unfold!
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