Education Blog

High School Student Critic Review - Seasons

By Shea Stevenson, High School Student Critic 11.07.17

Seasons is a 2016 French documentary directed by Jacques Perrin about the forests of Europe and the wildlife therein, spanning from the last ice age to modern day. Based on the premise alone, one can deduce that this is not a conventionally told story, especially for a documentary. Obviously, Jacques and crew were not carrying their cameras around filming the wildlife at the decline of that last ice age, but by taking creative liberties with much of what is shown, they are able to effectively place the viewer and animals plausibly in these far away time periods. One significant facet of the movie that helps this effect is the narration, which adds to the movie more than the usual narration over this type of documentary.

This is to say the narration is sparse, and unlike many other nature documentaries it never speaks for the animals, it simply sets the scene and then stops; this gives far more room for the visuals to carry the movie, which they are more than capable of doing. This movie is gorgeous - even if you have literally no idea what the narration is saying, I have complete confidence you would not only know what was happening anyways, but that no enjoyment would be lost. The cinematography and the way the forest is captured is really something special, and easily the main selling point of this movie.

If I were to point out one major issue, it would be that the earliest scenes involving humans are jarring and seem very out of place. This gets better as the movie goes on, but the early humans in costumes on sets stand out from the rest of the film. These shots are luckily short and few and far between, and by the time they become more frequent, they’ve stopped being so out of place. I’d wholeheartedly recommend this movie to anyone who has the ability to see.

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Shea Stevenson is a High School Student Critic for the JBFC's Education Department. He attended our screening of Seasons, part of our Focus on Nature film series, on Monday, October 30. Stay tuned for future film reviews from Shea!