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[CRITICAL / INTERVIEW] SEASONS

The documentary SEASONS has been presented in avant-première in Bordeaux, in the presence of the two filmmakers Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud (co-directors of winged migration and Oceans). Also present were the script-writer Stéphane Durand and one of the members of the Scientific Committee Gilbert Cochet. We have had the chance to meet and attend a trade very instructive to the team of the film with school children of primary and lower-secondary school.

We will deliver to you here what we have retained of their passions and of their intentions in the course of these meetings with the two producers, the writer and the scientist, while making the link with our critique of this wonderful documentary.

The intentions of the directors and the script – the role of The Scientific Committee and scientific advisors – the message of The film

What we have said filmmakers, writer and scientist

Jacques Perrin: We wanted to make a film about our european territory, because we have also beautiful landscapes. Our challenge was to show Europe the wild-the only condition to go back to 20000 years of history. Our engine has been to revisit the story from the point of view of animal with the animals of yesteryear (the Reindeer, Bison…), and not the story from the point of view of man as taught in the school.

Stéphane Durand: Find the idea and the approach took a long time (two years). After the Ice Age gets up in the golden Age of the forest and large trees, which is also the time where you can see the cycle of the seasons. The sub – title of the film is “20,000 years of history in the heart of the world of the wild“. It is for this reason that the scenario and the scenes are very written.

Stéphane Durand : In fact, it was essential to validate the details by the members of the Scientific Committee, who have accompanied us from the start, since the preparation and the writing of the script, but also on the filming and promotion.

Jacques Perrin :We are nourished by their passion, their humor. These experts are great for children, extension of their science, who are very happy that the film talks about their research. This is a fantastic chance to share with great teachers, this is also the power of cinema (editor’s Note : Yves Coppens, Gilles Boeuf, Jean-Marie Pelt were, inter alia, scientific advisers for the film).

Gilbert Cochet: It is not to be defeatist, nor moralizing, nor a prophet, and even less a herald of disaster… we’re already there ! We are not pessimistic, otherwise why make films on the issue ? But of course, we can’t repair the harm that man has done to nature as if it is repairing a monument. The only thing to do, and that is the message of our film is to encourage viewers to protect nature and leave it alone : the trees grow all on their own, the wildlife is re-established, the nature returns to power, the animals reproduce. It is necessary to create sanctuaries, such as national parks and nature reserves with corridors so that the animals can pass from one shrine to another. The man can also repair, by reintroducing species that have disappeared in the Twentieth century, as is already the case with wolves, eagle owls, beavers, cranes, greylag and the lynx.

Our critique of the scenario

The educational purpose and the scope of documentary of this ambitious project are undeniable, let’s hope that THE SEASONS will appeal to all generations of spectators. As for the Oceans , or The Migrating People, they will be blown away by this work, which responds in many ways to the challenge set by the project managers.

The scenario is constructed in two distinct parts. The first two thirds of THE SEASON to give and to see the animals live and survive, frolicking and rubbing each other, food chain requires. This bias to remain from the point of view alone of the animals is charming, cute, touching, informative , it allows you to return to the essence of the nature, guessing barely the traces of the man who sometimes appears in the shadows or behind a tree, the presence of the distant and yet so close and influential.

The last third of THE SEASON switches to a speech less than joyous, it chirps more, and sometimes it becomes illuminating. Are discussed the damage caused on nature by men, who have shot down the forests to build boats, are responsible for the domestication of some animals and of the disappearance of some of them, like wolves. The human being has not taken account of the lives of his “fellow world” and this dimension of the film is almost culpabilisante for the viewer who was not aware of its influence as negative ! THE SEASON ends here, highlighting the need for a new alliance, but no real tracks.

“SEASONS ” is a documentary beautiful, done by enthusiasts, who amaze young and old.”

The staging and animals

What we have said filmmakers, writer and scientist

Jacques Cluzaud: We mixed two approaches : the world of nature and the wild life on the one hand, and the world of the movie. Two types of images to feed the film : filmed in the wild life and the reconstituted scenes, that are known to have existed in the past, such as the mad race between the horses Tarpan and the wolves, the scene strong in the film, that we finally filmed it as such.

Jacques Perrin: We had very much wanted to go to the encounter of the world of the wild and film the animals as actors. It is for this reason that our film is not like a documentary classic, there are real action scenes like in the movies ! We truly consider animals as actors. The staging with the animals has been made possible only with the technique of impregnation, which we had already used for The Migrating People. This principle developed by Konrad Lorenz with greylag geese, is that the first contact that sees the animal at its birth in a natural park, it is the man, that he will consider as his substitute parent. This link may seem a little artificial, but we are committed to taking care of the animals. Thirty imprégnateurs spent two years of their lives with these animals, to get them used to human presence, gain their trust and confidence. These are not the trainers, because we do not demand anything to animals that is filmed, one lives their life with them.

The master word, it is that one does not tame nor domestic no animal. Thus, the fighting of horses, deer or bear have not been the subject of dressage, what are the actual fighting and ritualized in nature. These animals have no fear of man, even if we still had to pay attention to : as well we had a fire extinguisher in the hands to fend off the bear during the fight scene just in case. Tork with the animal world gives a lot of humility, there is no star to handle ! The approach to the wild world provides so much wonder and emotion ! The proximity with the animals forever changed the life of men who live with.

Our critique of the staging

The meeting with the directors we learned that the reenactment of certain scenes from the past, such as racing, crazy horses and wolves, or the various battles, was therefore the fruit of the work of impregnation. But it must be admitted that to consider that animals, like actors, play a scene, is particularly disturbing : indeed, how not to think that the filmmakers take the viewer exactly in the direction that they wish, and not that of the animals themselves, influencing them also in some way the nature?

The photograph and the technical means

What we have said filmmakers, writer and scientist

Jacques Cluzaud: We have implemented a number of technical developments to be able to accompany the animals in their movements, and discover in their expressions and share their lives. It was necessary to invent tools that were not available to be able to account for this proximity. And the ULTRALIGHT that had already been used for The Migrating People and it has enhanced to the flight of the beetle, or a scooter, four wheel electric has been improved to get close to the speed of the wild boar and wolves. It was also used drones.

We had several film crews present in both the wild life and for the reconstitution of some of the scenes. We have worked with the cinematographer Laurent Charbonnier, who was notably filmed the scene where the doe puts down : it had to be very discreet, otherwise it is kept. We were hidden in white tents. You must be very patient, it was necessary to wait sometimes several weeks for an interesting time. The scene of flying squirrels, for example, has been filmed during an entire week, night.

Even if we have sometimes created film sets and made a fake nest in a trunk of a tree, we obviously shot in a natural setting, and have obviously abused any animal or cut any tree.

Our critique of the photograph

The images, a true ode to nature, are gorgeous and a true feast for the eyes. The more close to the life of the animal, a smile in the face of malice and clumsiness, or the heart beating before the fight scenes, the emotion is there… even if the process becomes a little wearying over the length.

The dialogues and the music

What we have said filmmakers, writer and scientist

Jacques Perrin, Bruno was going down with us since The migrating People, and what is amazing with him is that he looks, inspired by natural sounds, accompanies the movements of the animals. There is a lot of humility in him. He never comes in contradiction with the sound natural.

The film is meant to be sensitivity direct with what our eyes see on the screen, therefore, there was no need to comment on the images, except to explain the passage of the seasons and historical periods.

Our critique of the music

The warm voice and suave of James Perrin does indeed that to give too few indications of historical or contextual, making it before any of THE SEASONS, a true sensory experience and a visual. The sounds of the animals are present, and the music accompanied with accuracy the emotion felt in the face of many scenes.

The time spent on the film, and means

What we have said filmmakers, writer and scientist

Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud: We had put 4 years for The Migrating People, and 5 years for the Oceans. For The Season, it took us two seasons and a half; 2 years to write the script and meet with the experts and then 1 year and a half for the filming and editing. We filmed almost seventy animals. There were nearly three hundred people who have worked on the entire film, not at the same time, of course, sometimes day and night. During preparation, there were the people who worked at the impregnation of animals, but also the heir tracers of decorations that made a tour of Europe to find the primary forests. Particularly in Poland, which still has forests of great oaks. There was also, of course, the team of cameramen and sound, and then the editors.

Jacques Cluzaud: We will soon expand The Seasons in the form of a series for tv, the format of the three episodes of 52 minutes, on the same story but this time with more words. And we will be releasing soon the making-off of the film, which will reveal all behind-the-scenes.

Our general view

Both of the means put at the service of so much passion for such a result, teaching can only force our respect as a spectator. There is no doubt that THE SEASONS is a film that will delight families and will be the object of wonder from both large and small.

Sylvie-Noelle

AGREE ? NOT AGREE ?

INFORMATION

Original title : The Seasons

Production : Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud

Screenplay : Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud Stéphane Durand with the collaboration of François Sarano

Country of origin : France, Germany

Released : January 27, 2016

Duration : 1h37min

Distributor : Pathé Distribution

Synopsis : After having traversed the globe to tire of wings with migratory birds and surfed in all the oceans in the company of whales and manta rays, Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud are back in this new opus on land more familiar to us. They invite us to an exciting journey through time to rediscover these european territories that we share with the wild animals since the last ice age up to our days.

The winter lasted for over 80 000 years old when, in a very short time, an immense forest covering the whole continent. A new planetary configuration, and everything is upset…
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