Programmed by Pierre Oscar Lévy
Filmed in one of the last remaining patches of old growth forest in Lithuania, “The Ancient Woods” is a place where the boundaries of time melt and everything that exists does not wither or age but “grows into” eternity. A poetic and atypical nature film takes its viewers on the endless journey – from the forest thickets to the wolves’ caves and up to black stork’s nest, and then deep into the water to the underwater forest, returning after to the human beings inhabiting the edge of the woodland. There is no commentary, only rich, almost palpable sounds of the forest and the magical situations captured by the camera.
The film gently erases the line separating the human and natural lives, interweaving them into a single poetic story. Its style and narrative brings it close to a fantasy tale.
A formidable masterpiece of awesome filmmaking! Sadly, the book Mutual Aid: The Other Law of the Jungle did not serve as a model – no animal documentary-maker seems to have read this study by Pablo Servigne and Gauthier Chapelle… Here, despite the seven scientists mentioned in the credits, forest life follows the dominant ideology where “man is a wolf for mankind”, and there’s no cooperation between wolves despite nature’s intentions. This impressive filmmaking has produced a calm, poised and admirable movie where the sound guides and precedes the often spectacular and astonishing images. There’s a slow kind of majesty that soothes and unites. The work is almost an archive of a glorious past. The cockfight between two Western (or Eurasian) capercaillies is something we no longer see in France as there aren’t any of them left here. This spectacle will disappear during the sixth extinction because we’re incapable of ending our frantic quest for profit.
Pierre Oscar Lévy