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Heart of Oak

Laurent Charbonnier & Michel Seydoux | France | 2022 | 80 min | No dialogue | Classification U

Once upon a time, there was a 210-year-old oak tree: the pillar of its world and a guardian of nature’s balance. Like a hostel that is always open, it was visited by friends passing by, but also by treacherous parasites and ruthless predators.

 

Two eminent nature-loving filmmakers, Laurent Charbonnier and Michel Seydoux, have joined forces to create this adventure film, which they shot for months in the verdant French region of Sologne. Not only is their lush production mesmerising, the co-directors have also directed a prestigious cast comprising squirrels, woodpeckers, barnacle lichen, jays, ants and field mice ... From its roots to its top, this majestic tree welcomes, feeds and protects this vibrant community, season after season.

If a playful use of music provides unexpected humour, it is mostly nature itself that does the talking, with no voiceover to disturb the poetic harmony. If you let them grow, oak trees can live for over 500 years. And in some cases, up to a thousand. Any observant walker can be awestruck by these symbols of strength. Le Chêne adds thrills to this experience.

Text: Minna Nurmi