‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ Review: Magic Kingdom

In his best-selling ebook, “The Hidden Life of Trees,” the German forester Peter Wohlleben drew in thousands and thousands of readers with a tantalizing speculation: that bushes are social, sentient beings, who speak to one another, feed and nurse their younger, sense ache and have personalities. While Wohlleben’s anthropomorphic language and seductive mix of science and hypothesis rankled some professionals, this was exactly the promoting level for lay readers: a possibility to see how bushes share some of our personal traits, and are worthy of our empathy and care.

Directed by Jörg Adolph, the documentary “The Hidden Life of Trees” makes use of the sensorial capacities of cinema to thrillingly visualize Wohlleben’s observations. Jan Haft’s digital camera friends deep into tree bark, and all the universes of organisms therein; it captures the blooming of vegetation in rapturous time-lapse pictures; it lovingly traces the outlines of rustling, sun-kissed canopies. All the whereas, the voice-over reads snippets from Wohlleben’s ebook, letting us into the secrets and techniques of nature that lie past human imaginative and prescient and temporality.

These scenes are interspersed with Wohlleben’s area journeys and lectures, and as within the ebook, his accessible type and infectious ardour is the principle draw right here. What the movie efficiently imparts just isn’t a lot scientific certainty as an affecting sense of curiosity and reverence, which Wohlleben deploys to a practical finish: to argue for the ecological administration of forests, which might guarantee their communal well being and longevity, and subsequently that of humankind. Crouching subsequent to a 10,000-year-old spruce, Wohlleben reminds us of man’s comparative insignificance in addition to energy. “The only thing it cannot withstand,” he says of the spindly tree, “is a chain saw.”

The Hidden Life of Trees
Rated PG. In German, Korean and English, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes. In theaters.