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The Man Who Planted Trees More at IMDbPro »L'homme qui plantait des arbres (original title)

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27 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

One of those movies that touch lives (especially mine)!

Author: sukapesta from p-town
4 September 2005

I watched this masterpiece on the first day of my Intro to Film class, it's one of the professor's favorites, and I can't see why it shouldn't be... For half an hour I just sat there, completely mesmerized by the beautiful animation and wonderful message of this film... In this era of Finding Nemo, Valiant, and all the 3-D overdose, watching this film is a breath of fresh air... It makes you long for the simpler days of animation, and a single frame of this particular animation is more lively and real than Pixar or Dreamworks can ever hope to achieve...

But the story... Wow... Halfway into the film, I was still sitting there, mouth agape, but then tears just started rolling down my cheeks, as corny as it may sound... Christopher Plummer's soft, grandfather-like voice (and I'm sure the French version has an equally, if not more, accomplished narrator) conveys one of the most meaningful, touching stories I've ever heard... For the first time, there's a movie that I genuinely think everyone should watch, as otherwise they'd be deprived of what may be their greatest cinematic experience ever... This is one superb, inspiring film, and it deserves every single award and nomination it has received...

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23 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Pure magic

Author: Islandia from Reykjavík, Iceland
3 March 2004

The first time I saw this film I sat in front of the TV and watched it like I had been hypnotized. The animation technique and the colours are breathtaking and I really, really wish I had seen it on the big screen. I'm sure the experience would have been sublime.

This is the kind if film that leaves the viewer (unless she/he is totally insensitive) full of awe and wonder at the determination shown by the protagonist, who, in the course of a lifetime, plants a forest.

Whether you view it as a simple and beautiful story about planting trees and loving nature, or as a fable with a deeper meaning, this film is absolutely wonderful.

I would buy it in a heartbeat if it ever came out on DVD.

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20 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Best animated film EVER, period!

Author: Larry41OnEbay-2 from Culpeper, VA USA
18 October 2000

When we played this short as part of the annual International Tournee of Animation back in the eighties, no one was prepared for this profound masterpiece. It flowed like a river, continually being painted by French Impressionist painter Renoir. Each image moved and dissolved like sand being blown across the desert. And the seemingly deceptive story slowly evolved into a mountain of wisdom. It speaks truths that are as old as the teaching of wise old Greek philosophers. An average man meets a stranger who quietly is planting the seeds of trees. Each time they meet years have passed. We get to see how the simple good acts of one person continue to grow and bless others until finally all is good as far as the eye can see. Not just one man's backyard but a whole country is green, alive and beautiful because a single human was preoccupied with the good of all mankind! The real evidence of this stories influence are hidden in the details which I will not divulge here, instead you must see the film for yourself. And when you find it please send me a copy and like the seed planter I too will pass it along. Based on a true story this inspiring tale is as important as Shakespeare or Victor Hugo and should be released so everyone can learn these truths. If this film were required viewing in schools the world would be a better place to live. If I could buy a hundred copies on video or DVD I would give them out as Christmas gifts to everyone I know and spread the love! Excuse me now while I go out to plant another seed. Rating 10 out of 10!

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Words do not adequately do this justice, but I will try.

Author: Robert Reynolds ( from Tucson AZ
3 October 2002

Where do I begin with this comment? I could echo other commenters and describe the plot, which in no way will detract from the films' impact on a first-time viewer. Or I could talk about the absolutely breathtaking animation, the beautiful backgrounds and incredible detail that make this one of the most visually arresting pieces-animated or live-action-I have ever seen or ever expect to see in my life. I could mention that Christopher Plummer's narration rings perfectly, blending with the animation so seamlessly as to make a whole vastly greater than its already stellar parts. I could mention that this wonder is, at least in the U.S., shamefully out of print, unless I've missed it somewhere and I wonder why some organization interested in environmental concerns hasn't pushed for it to be in print, because it says what they say so eloquently that their point would be easy to make. I could mention that it deservedly won the Academy Award for Animated Short and was selected as one of the fifty greatest animated shorts of all time in a poll of animators and film historians several years ago. But I guess what I'll do is just state the obvious: I love this short, think it should be widely available and wish it were being shown in schools across the world. Frederic Back is a supremely talented man and far too neglected. This may be his crowning achievement and, by itself, would justify his entire life in the sight of mankind, the universe and his creator and I thank him and everyone involved in this splendid work. You have to see this film!!! Most joyously recommended.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Silent Hero Of The Land

Author: Doramius from Las Vegas, NV
7 April 2004

This is one of the most inspirational shows to find anywhere. It's virtually impossible to think of all the great things man can do until it is done during the little time we have here on this earth.

This is an account of a true story about a french man named Elezeard Bouffier. We are given narration from the author of his journey through a French desert just before WWI along with accounts of his visits after the war. Elezeard begins as a shepherd who decides to plant trees to pass time and give life back to the land. Later his work grows and becomes protected by the French government in order to preserve a beautiful forest.

Shown few times for Public Broadcast, this story has caught the attention of many people to which it has given them hope and a sense of mortality. A wonderful addition to any video collection. It has something everyone can learn from and is entertaining to watch over and over again.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:


Author: gpont from France
28 March 2003

It is the ultimate masterpiece ever created in animation film making. Made by one simple man, Frederic Back who never reached this top since. I wish everybody could see it. The world would probably be a better place to live.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Should be a classic

Author: intheaudience from United States
9 May 2006

I can't remember the last time I was so moved by an animated film. It is truly a work of art, lyrical, and inspired. The story is a very nice parable, but the way it was told by the artist here is incredibly moving. Many years of work (eight?)by the team of animators headed by Frederick Back created this 30-minute film. Only the loving product of the heart and of the right brain could yield art like this. Christopher Plummer's voice evokes the wise elder of the film's subject, and the music provides a background that blends well with the gentle crayon and charcoal drawings that form this work, but it is the drawings that are the centerpiece, in my opinion, although some might say it was the story. The work moved me to tears without any of the manipulation of most modern films. I could imagine children and teenagers being inspired and moved by this, also, and I think it should be shown to all children. I echo other viewers' recommendation that this would make a wonderful gift for someone you love, at any age.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Possibly the most beautiful story ever written.

Author: Ray Harley ( from Blairgowrie, Scotland
4 March 2002

Possibly the most beautiful story ever written. Utter perfection in it's simplicity. Sheer poetry to rival the greatest of all bards. The author should receive a special oscar for giving this peaceful, wonderful tale to the world. If it were out on video I would purchase it in French and English. No ecological group could argue any better for what mankind can be capable of, but so often finds itself lacking.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

"I find, after all, that a man's destiny can be truly wonderful"

Author: ackstasis from Australia
16 February 2009

Frédéric Back's 'The Man Who Planted Trees (1987)' is the one short film that has been fervently recommended to me above all others, and I'm surprised that it took me so very long to get around to it {fortunately, my stubbornness proved beneficial, since I was able to hold out for a high-quality copy}. My only previous experience with Back was his first Oscar-nominated effort 'All Nothing (1980)' in May 2007, and I enjoyed its artistry, even if the basis in Creationism kept me distanced from its central themes. This effort, arguably Back's most celebrated, tells the story of Elezeard Bouffier, an old shepherd who singlehandedly created a forest through decades of planting seeds. Though I initially assumed that Bouffier was a real-life figure, he was, in fact, a fictional creation of author Jean Giono, who apparently perpetuated the misconception. Either way, this shepherd's story is powerful and inspirational, Back's animation giving life to Giono's uplifting tale.

When I recall Frédéric Back's work, the first contemporary animator who comes to mind is Aleksandr Petrov, whose paint-on-glass animation allows similar dream-like visuals that morph from one image to another like a shifting desert landscape. 'The Man Who Planted Trees' doesn't resemble a moving oil painting, as does Petrov's work, but instead bears a slightly more minimalistic pastel-sketching style. Even so, the attention-to-detail is simply staggering. For the film's opening half, the colour palette is largely sepia-toned, emphasising the sheer barrenness of the desert, with bare rocks and coarse weeds lashed by a dry, bitter wind. As Bouffier plants his trees, Back gradually introduces colour into his work, symbolising the physical and spiritual rebirth of the region. My single slight criticism with the film is that the narration should probably have been used more sparingly. As warm as I found Christopher Plummer's voice, I think that some scenes would have proved more powerful had the viewer been left to his own accord, to absorb for himself the breathtaking beauty of Back's animation.

'The Man Who Planted Trees' serves, I think, as a fine counterpoint to Back's previous short film, 'All Nothing.' In the latter, a dissatisfied Mankind rapes and pillages the life that his Creator has placed upon the planet. In this film, Mankind gives back to nature; rather than destroying life, Bouffier creates it himself, even as two World Wars rage overhead. On at least two occasions, the narrator {Christopher Plummer in the English-language version, Philippe Noiret in the French} remarks that what Bouffier accomplished makes him something akin to God. Indeed, the government officials who arrive to observe his forest can think of no other explanation for the miraculous rebirth, declaring it an astonishing natural phenomenon. Nobody can believe that all this joy could have been created by the hand of a single man. I interpreted this as a touchingly humanist statement. After all, if an old shepherd like Elezeard Bouffier can give rise to such life, why, indeed, do we need a God at all?

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

beautiful, on film or video

Author: chromo from San Francisco, CA, USA
7 February 2001

"the man who planted trees" stunned me. it's been a long time since i cried with joy for an idea ... a very deep, satisfying spiritual experience.

i've wanted to see this movie since i read that TAKAHATA isao -- co-founder of studio ghibli, director of "grave of the fireflies," producer of MIYAZAKI hayao's works "nausicaa of the valley of wind" and "laputa: castle in the sky" -- takahata wrote a book about "the man who planted trees," he was so moved by it.

i'm not associated with them, but i think "direct cinema limited" distributes the video in the united states.

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