5 Walks. Hercynia Silva
This film is available for booking from late September.
"In the northern region is the vast expanse of the Hercynian forest, untouched by the ages and coeval with the world, which surpasses all marvels by its almost immortal destiny." (Pliny, ‘Natural History’ 23-79 AD)
The horror and grandeur of the last remnants of Northern European primary forest conjure up a history of hunting, fleeing and meetings with magical creatures. The first part of a series of films on the cultural meaning of landscape.
The forest itself is not threatening, mysterious, resplendent or idyllic. We are the ones that fill it with meaning using stories and images. Culture annexes nature by animating it. Forest histories differ little from country to country and era to era. They are always stories about wandering, hunting, meetings with magical creatures, fertility cults and tree worship whereby desecration of the tree can only be put right with a sacrifice. He who knows nature's laws will see wonderful places whilst roaming the forest. Those that don't belong, will become hopelessly lost.
It is conspicuous how resilient landscape myths are. While the primeval forests dwindle away - only a few dozen square kilometres remain in Europe - the myth of the wild forest seems to have adapted itself. Motorways are our new forest paths with neon signs as the ignis fatus and drivers on the wrong side of the road as its fauns. The speed and strength of machines have taken the place of the wild beast. The chaos of the primeval forest and society's order are two sides of the same leaf.
director: Anna Abrahams
photography: Jan Frederik Groot
sound: Sam Simons
assistent: Beek Groot
editing: Stella van Voorst van Beest
production Poland: Darek Szendel
sound design: Edwin Bakker
voices: Agnieszka Sadlakowska, Matt Hulse, André Graham, Dan Geesin