Watership Down

Documentary is part of Forest Screening's program.

Fri 20.8.2021 at 21:00
(Live music starts at 20:00 in Forest Screening)


Tickets 10€

Director: Martin Rosen, John Hubley

Writer: Martin Rosen, John Hubley

Editing: Terry Rawlings

Music: Angela Morley

Sound Design: Ray Merrin, Bill Rowe

Production: Martin Rosen

1987 / UK

Length: 91 min

Language: English

Subtitles: Finnish

Classification: 12


In the English countryside a group of rabbits leave their colony to find a new place to live. Along the way the group encounters many obstacles and conflicts occur with not only other species, but with other rabbits too. The movie is based on a 1972 novel of the same title by Richard Adams. The vibrant and nuanced animation style of the movie captivates the viewer, and unsurprisingly it won the Saturn award for the best animation film.


Although the author has denied the story being an allegory, it’s hard not to seek political and religious references in the hierarchies and interactions between the characters. The nature is beautiful but also harsh with a natural pecking order between creatures. The theme of the film’s prologue - the creation myth - can also be viewed as a portrayal of nature's diversity and interconnectedness: to maintain balance “the creator” has given prey a predator, but also ways to survive.


It has been said that the movie traumatized a large number of children in the 70’s and 80’s, due to it’s violence and graphical depictions of death. The color red is present in the splatters of blood and as an ominous backdrop of familiar landscape. Director Martin Rose has never been apologetic about the rawness of the movie. His response to critique has been to raise a question: is death a subject that should not be presented to children? Movies can produce generational experiences and they can have a permanent effect on the viewer. What would the world be without collective movie induced trauma?


Text: Ella Karttunen