The Man Who Planted Trees (Frederic Back, 1987)

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Steven H
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The Man Who Planted Trees (Frederic Back, 1987)

#1 Post by Steven H » Wed Apr 27, 2005 3:36 pm

Because of a recent article I read on Doug Cummings' filmjourney.org, I bought the DVD box set of Frederick Back's films. I really don't have much to say except I'm a little stunned. This film (along the rest in this set) is beautiful, and after watching The Man Who Planted Trees I got the feeling of seeing something that I've always wanted to see; almost deja vu, but different. I'm certain this has inspired *many* conservationists and environmental activists with it's message of important destinies, and it looms large in my mind as an existentialist myth, examining man's earthly responsibilities. It seems to exclude religion as something above humanity and instead mention it alongside. I'm sure there are many ways of reading this film. I can't wait to go through all the extras and find more information about Back's influences in his artwork.

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Michael Kerpan
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#2 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Apr 27, 2005 3:46 pm

I was blown away by this set too. I had been debating ordering the French videos a couple of years ago, and then the CBC set providentially came out.

I recommend that you watch "Man Who Planted Trees" and "Grande Fleuve" in French as well as English (alas, no English subs for the French version). Especially in the latter case, the French narration (and choral music) is far better than the English alternative.

Luckily, most of Back's works are wordless -- and thus utterly universal.

If you haven''t seen "Crac!" yet you are in for a real treat.

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ltfontaine
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#3 Post by ltfontaine » Wed Apr 27, 2005 3:50 pm

The Man Who Planted Trees is an intensely beautiful film, but I know nothing more about Back or his work. Are the other films in this set anywhere near as good as the Giono adaptation? Is there a good web source from which to learn more about Back?

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Gregory
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#4 Post by Gregory » Wed Apr 27, 2005 3:51 pm

I saw Crac on the World's Greatest Animation compilation and loved it.
I've searched around a bit for the CBC box set and can't find it for any less than full retail price. If anyone could point me to a discount it would be much appreciated.

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Michael Kerpan
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#5 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Apr 27, 2005 4:52 pm

I got my copy at www.archambault.ca. It was discounted a couple of years ago -- but haven't priced it recently.

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Lino
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#6 Post by Lino » Thu Apr 28, 2005 3:42 am

Growing up in Portugal, I was lucky enough that one man on national TV was commited enough to the world and wonder of animation to the point of offering us cartoons from all around the world - that's why even today I am a firm and strong supporter and lover of czech animation, which I consider to be the best in the world during its heyday.

Among those cartoons were the ones by Frederic Back, so it was with enorm pleasure that I ordered the french boxset - I just couldn't wait to relive my childhood memories and yes, some tears were shed.

The thing that strikes me more about Back is not just his animation and storytelling skills - whenever I see one of his animations, I get an acute sense of a deep human being, strongly rooted on what living on this planet is all about.

He is the reason why even today I am so environmental concerned. Not a small thing to achieve, right?

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Michael Kerpan
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#7 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:02 am

There is a nice NHK TV tribute to Back by Isao Takahata (director or "Grave of the Fireflies" and "Only Yesterday", etc.). This is available on DVD from Japan (with English subtitles). The same DVD contains Miyazaki's tribute to Antoine St-Exupery).

porcupine2
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#8 Post by porcupine2 » Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:06 am

Watched this recently - interested in the changing 'painterly' styles the landscape is depicted in as the periods move on. Eventually, the village and social life amid the lush vegetation looked like the achievement of a Pissaro landscape in particular.

The man who planted trees himself strongly reminds me of the Gardener Vallier by Cezanne - the looking far off etc,

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