François-Xavier Drouet, France, 2018, 103'
World Premiere
Sat. 4.8.2018, 11h00, La Sala
Sun. 5.8.2018, 18h30, L'altra Sala

en / it / de / fr

A tree is a tree is a forest. And a forest is nature. A walk in the woods is the epitome of recreation and contemplation for most people. But in his film Le Temps des Forêts, François-Xavier Drouet tells a different forest story. One of tree deserts, monoculture, pesticides and other poisons, production, profitability, and social injustice. The director takes us on a trip to central France, the west coast, Burgundy and the Vosges mountains. He starts out on the Millevaches high plateau in Limousin. This plateau is a 70% afforested region. However, this forest is a green desert - a mere cultivation area for the wood industry. Douglas firs rise in disciplined rows hectare after hectare.

Monoculture instead of biodiversity prevails: the forest is only there to be harvested. Giant machines that look like metal monsters fell the fir trees every few minutes, hectares of surfaces are cleared, rivers and streams devastated and poisoned. The destroyed wasteland finally receives the next generation of Douglas firs. Pesticides will help them grow faster in the soil, which is worn out by the monoculture. In his film, François-Xavier Drouet allows many people to express their views, people who work in and with the forest. People who benefit from the forest. But also people who prefer to cultivate their forests in a sustainable way. A forester describes the constantly worsening working conditions that are tightened by the “Office national des forêts” (ONF) in favour of profit and profitability. He talks about the countless suicides of forestry workers who cracked because of inhuman conditions.

Finally, the film accompanies many forestry workers to a demonstration in front of the ONF headquarters. This is when it becomes clear that the French forest and wood business has taken on proportions that go far beyond anything imaginable. Images of huge deforested areas, nightmarishly huge machines felling tree trunks like matchsticks and building them up into huge piles, images of a sawmill factory that processes as much wood in a day as a small family sawmill in a year... These pictures are not from faraway Canada or China, they are from our neighbouring country, France. This film is a discovery because it tells a story about the forest we have not yet heard and seen.

Brigitte Häring