Lithuanian forest wildlife, film review


This video says about itself:

The Ancient Woods – Trailer

The 65th Sydney Film Festival – 6-17 June 2018

A magical ode to an ancient European forest, filmed in exquisite detail, this is a one-of-a-kind nature film that begs to be seen on the big screen. The setting is dense, old growth woods, rich with wildlife – on the ground, in the air and in the water. As seasons shift, creatures follow their eternal routines of foraging, grooming and raising their young. The camera, in almost-surreal detail, captures the forest’s endurance and undeniable beauty – the capercaillie’s red brow, the flight of an owl, an insect emerging from melting snow.

There’s no commentary, only birdcalls and the sound of the wind. Lithuanian biologist turned filmmaker Mindaugas Survila spent almost ten years making The Ancient Woods, often taking weeks to capture the right shot. His patience and unerring eye has resulted in an enchanting, meditative documentary experience.

On 27 October 2018, I went to see that film.

Like the Dutch wetland wildlife film Wad, it begins in winter and ends in winter.

Like Wad, part of it was filmed underwater. Meaning that in Wad, you see salt water wildlife. And in The Ancient Woods, you see freshwater fish, and the reflections of flying fireflies and bats in the water.

There is no commentary, not spoken, not in subtitles. While that may help in focusing attention on the beautiful imagery, it might cause problems for people in, eg, South America, Indonesia or otherwise who are not familiar with Lithuanian animal species.

There are three deer species in the film: from the smallest, roe deer, to red deer, to elk (or moose, if you are North American), the bigest species.

Also European bison, badgers, wolves and rodents.

One reptile: an adder.

While there is deserved attention for big bird species, like sea eagle, raven, black stork and tawny owl, as for smaller birds there is only a brief shot of a nightjar, and sound (no images) of golden oriole and blackbird.

A film definitely worth seeing.

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