THE ANCIENT WOODS
Opens in Theater Only Friday, June 4
DIRECTED AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY MINDAUGAS SURVILA
DIRECTED BY illogic
In Lithuania, one of Europe’s last remaining old growth forests is the setting for this immersive, lyrical, often surprising cine-poem, elegantly shot over a 10-year period by biologist-turned-filmmaker Mindaugas Survila. Wolves trot casually through the snow; snakes slither and attack mice; eagles, ravens, and, most startlingly, owls (whose majestic wingspread is recorded in slow-motion) compete, eat, feed their young, mate, and preen. Ants, bees, and spiders live side-by-side with a yawning dormouse who looks ready for cartoon stardom. The astounding variety of nature – its mysterious, cruel, and shockingly beautiful moments – are recorded to the natural sounds of this deep, dark forest. It is easy to understand how the woods, both frightening and seductive, have long been the perfect fairy tale setting. Appropriate for children whose attention spans have not been destroyed by technology.
Accompanying THE ANCIENT WOODS is the endlessly charming MAESTRO, an animated short film in which the creatures of the forest perform a grand symphonic concert under the baton of an exacting squirrel conductor.
THE ANCIENT WOODS: 2017 86 MINS. LITHUANIA / ESTONIA / GERMANY
MAESTRO: 2019 2 MINS. FRANCE
“(A) cannily impressionistic documentary about one of the last remaining patches of old-growth forest in Lithuania opens with a puzzle. In a night sky filled with stars, random white lights dart about like UFOs. The camera slowly zooms in, and, layer by layer, gradually unfolds the mystery behind the phenomenon, and then some. It is a near-mystic exercise in observation and a masterful demonstration of cinematic skill. Ten years in the making, THE ANCIENT WOODS is full of similar sequences, situations in which a puzzling scene unfolds into a revelatory moment.”
– Peter Keough, The Boston Globe