Film Review: Seasons
Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud
Music Box Films
Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud specialize in enchanting, nonnarrative nature documentaries that portray life from the perspective of the animals of the land, sea, and air. They had runaway international hits with 2001’s Winged Migration, which followed flocks of birds up close with revolutionary cameras, and 2009’s Oceans, which did something similar for the creatures of the sea. In Seasons they follow the life cycle of forests, and of the animals that inhabit them. The film charts the creation of Europe’s forests out of the Ice Age, and of their eventual decline as humans tamed the land. People do play a bit more of a role in this film, showing up as random figures first, then farmers, and finally medieval city dwellers—but the focus remains, as always, on the natural world.
Filled with lush, sweeping camera moves that take in the immensity of the landscape, and accompanied by ethereally beautiful music, Seasons is more than a mere nature doc—it’s a mesmerizing fantasy of what it must have been like when the earth was as green as it is blue. And the world depicted here is a rather gentle, loving one. As always, Perrin and Cluzaud have managed to approach very close to these creatures, thus achieving a level of intimacy to counterpose the film’s grandeur. We feel as if we are there, among packs of wolves hunting down prey, brown bears fighting, wild horses galloping, and rodents nesting in trees. Yes, we also see the occasional conflict, like prey being brought down, but the way violence is depicted is slightly sanitized, which may or may not have to do with making sure younger viewers can still enjoy this lovely, fascinating film.