Once upon a Forest is a stunningly beautiful film which follows retired professor of botany Francis Halle on a voyage of exploration through the forest. Filmed in Peru and Gabon, the film mixes stunning cinematography with animations inspired by Halle's drawings to explore the evolution and ecology of the forests. In only 78 minutes the viewer is given a comprehensive survey of how forests can regenerate, how plants and butterflies co-evolve and how large animals such as elephants can be both menace (by eating the leaves) and helpmates (by eating and distributing the fruits and seeds) to trees. We are also shown amazing footage of ants cutting and carrying leaves and milking aphids for honeydew. The cameras capture the various animals that drink the nectar of flowers, including a monkey that quite frankly looks mildly drunk!
Stunning film, if you love plants and forests and are concerned about their future, watch it if you can! If you have children, take them too, as this is a brilliant introduction to forest ecology.
Once upon a Forest showing at the Edinburgh Filmhouse until Thrsday 7 August.