Filmed over ten years by Lithuanian biologist Mindaugas Survila, this beautiful, meditative ode to the growth and abundant wildlife in an ancient, unspoiled Baltic forest contemplates its subjects without ever interpreting them.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
Immerse yourself in the life of an ancient Baltic forest, a habitat abundant with wildlife little touched as yet by human habitation. Lithuanian biologist turned filmmaker Mindaugas Survila spent almost ten years making The Ancient Woods, often taking weeks to set up and capture the perfect shot. His patience and unerring eye have resulted in an enchanting, meditative experience – a walk in the woods where every creature is espied in exquisite close-up, and no voice of authority is explaining what they are up to.
“Without a clear point to make or a theory to prove, Survila simply comes as close as possible and… observes. He doesn’t limit himself to any particular subject, ending up watching a stork’s nest or the struggles of a snowbound spider with equal delight and fascination…
Crows predictably steal the show, as their desperate fight for food provokes some impolite but highly entertaining reactions, but Survila also pays attention to the smallest of [the forest’s] habitants, all the while making some very interesting visual choices, such as looking away when the violence proves too draining, plunging underwater or showing a rather frenzied feast in slow motion.” — Marta Bałaga, Cineuropa