Road Rash Reviews

Heart of an Oak Cinema Review****-

Cert U | 80 mins | 2024

4 star mesmerising world in miniature.

Heart of an Oak (also known as Le Chêne) is a 2024 French wildlife documentary film, written and directed by Laurent Charbonnier (Winged Migration) and Michel Seydoux (Cyrano de Bergerac).

Following on from it’s premiere on the Icon Film Channel, it is coming to select UK cinemas from 12th July 2024 and on Digital download from 12th August 2024.

This glorious wildlife documentary is highly unusual in that it is completely wordless. The cinematography, although somewhat familiar to fans of icons such as David Attenborough, takes on a life of its own when watched without outside interruptions, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the lives of these wonderful creatures. Indeed, there is no score either for most of the film, again allowing enjoyment of the sounds of nature alongside the sights. Music is only included occasionally for dramatic effect and when it enhances the mood (for example Sway by Dean Martin playing for the frisky Acorn Weevils!).

The film takes place over one calendar year in the life of a Pedunculate Oak Tree, born in 1810. This magnificent specimen is close to a lake and home to many little families of various species, as well as a single Red Squirrel. We see in intimate (and sometimes humorous) detail the day to day lives of the inhabitants of the tree. These include the tiny and hard done to Acorn Weevils, Eurasian Jays, Ants, Wood Mice, Wild Boar, Roe Deer and a Barn Owl among others.

This leads to a thoroughly relaxing watching experience (except of course for the moments of sheer terror when a Northern Goshawk swoops in for the chase, or an Aesculapian snake climbs it’s way towards a nest full of chicks). Despite the inherent brutality of the natural world, it manages to be a heartwarming watch which shows the great diversity of life and the fact that whatever hurdles are thrown at it and despite the hardships, the great cycle continues.

Heart of an Oak is an extraordinary feat of wildlife filming, brilliantly edited and put together to really make you feel as if you are living right alongside the creatures who inhabit the tree. A special feeling and most certainly well worth a watch.

Heart Of An Oak is coming to select UK cinemas from 12th July and then on Digital Download from 12th August 

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DirectorLaurent Charbonnier, Michel Seydoux
GenreDocumentary, drama, wildlife