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The Hidden Life of Trees - Film Review (Transitions Film Festival 2021)

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I am a writer living in Melbourne who loves to devour culture and the arts. Visit me at www.pumptheatre.com.au
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Science meets romanticism in forest documentary
The Transitions Film Festival 2021 is back this year with a splendid line up of socially conscious and environmental films.

See the World Premiere of Beyond the Burning,a live event with Environment Victoria at Parkade MPavilion on Tuesday 23 February at 8pm. Register your attendance here.

From 26 February to 15 March, all films are available to watch virtually from the comfort of your lounge room. Tickets and festival passes are now on sale. Check out the program and book your tickets here.

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The Hidden Life of Trees


This year's feature The Hidden Life of Trees directed by Joerg Adolph, is a documentary about forester and author Peter Wohlleben. Watch the trailer here.

Since the book was published in 2015 The Hidden Life of Trees has received international acclaim across 40 countries and spurred a humanistic understanding and empathy of the ecology and sociology of trees.

The documentary presents a series of interviews, interspersed with amazing time-lapse and aerial footage of woodlands and forests of The Harz in Germany. This 96-minute documentary is a love song to the 'giant elders of the forest'. It's best described as 'Microcosmos' meets a German David Attenborough with English captions.

environment, film, festival, transitions, climate, change, world, Australia, Interdependence, hidden, life, trees, international, human rights, technology, innovation, politics, science, robotics, utopias, dystopias, planet
The Hidden Life of Trees


Peter Wohlleben views his role as a forester as a 'guardian of the forest'. Although this seems like a romantic notion, you will come to understand his perspective and enjoy how Peter translates the life of trees into human experience.

Peter uses the analogy of the Beech Tree to describe himself, as they are social, family orientated and live within a community. Over 80% of Germany forests are covered by Beech Trees and they also have a hardcore, and later you will see that Peter does as well, with his activism, workshops and 'forest tours'.

environment, film, festival, transitions, climate, change, world, Australia, Interdependence, hidden, life, trees, international, human rights, technology, innovation, politics, science, robotics, utopias, dystopias, planet
The Hidden Life of Trees poster


In this documentary, Peter gets down on the forest floor, to explore the undergrowth and explains how trees existed 300,000 years before humans, and contain ancient wisdom and similarities to the social fabric of humanity. There is a caring interdependent relationship between the older trees and the younger trees in the forest. Interesting fact, a tree relies of the health of other trees to exist. Based on scientific research and forester insight, the contemporary methods of forest harvesting and tree farming are destroying the natural regeneration cycles of our forests.

Did you know trees register pain and their root systems have networks and electrical currents like the human brain?

What could we learn from trees? Peter shows us how birds, deer, native pigs, bark beetles and caterpillars consume the produce of forest trees, activate the tree defence mechanisms. However, due to their height and age, trees have a slower response system to heal injury.

The documentary takes us to Sweden where Peter meets 'Old Tjikko' a 9,550 year old tree in the Darlana Province, and also to Vancouver Canada where Peter speaks with loggers.

David Suzuki also makes an appearance, and there are lots of conversations with regular folk and Peter at his book signings.

Peter is not a scientist and as a forester his passion is to be able to translate the beauty and complexity of trees into simple terms any layperson can understand. In this way, he is very clever and why the book The Hidden Life of Trees is his major success out of 16 books he has written.

If you enjoy a mindful film, then The Hidden Life of Trees is sure to delight and take you on a special journey into the wisdom and majesty of these precious creatures.

environment, film, festival, transitions, climate, change, world, Australia, Interdependence, hidden, life, trees, international, human rights, technology, innovation, politics, science, robotics, utopias, dystopias, planet
Transitions Film Festival 2021 - Visions of a Better World
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Why? Transition to a better world
When: 26 February 2021 to 15 March 2021
Where: Online
Cost: $12, $9. Festival Passes available.
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