Coming Soon to Cinecenta
Sep 29 5:00 & 7:00 pm
Sep 30 7:00 pm



Jorg Adolph · Germany · 2021 · 84 mins · NR

Please note: online ticket sales are suspended momentarily, customers can only purchase tickets in person at our box office (open 40 minutes before every screening).

Rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes!

The Hidden Life of Trees, from documentary filmmakers Jörg Adolph and Jan Haft, takes its inspiration and its title from Peter Wohlleben’s best-selling non-fiction book. Its full title, when it was translated into English in 2016: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries From a Secret World.

Wohlleben also stars, leading viewers through ancient forests in his native Germany as well as Poland, British Columbia and elsewhere, revealing recent discoveries about our arboreal cousins, and discussing how to best manage the forests around us.

The answer to the second part is easy: Leave them alone. “Hands in your pockets and watch is how you get a virgin forest,” he says. Foresters (even good-hearted ones) who say they tend to forests is like a butcher saying she tends to animals.

Not that there’s much virgin forest left these days. Centuries of civilization means much of what we think of as unspoiled wilderness is really the result of human cultivation. Though Wohlleben does check in on “Old Tjikko,” a 9,500-year-old spruce in Sweden. We had nothing to do with its slow growth – it sprouted before a newfangled thing called agriculture had spread to Europe. It was millennia old before we even invented writing.

The Hidden Life of Trees carries with it a clear message of ecology, conservation and that all-important leave-it-alone-ism. But it also spends much of its 80 minutes on science. We learn that trees provide nutrients to their fellows, communicate through fungal networks (the so-called wood-wide web) and have personalities – three close-growing oaks in France receive the same weather, but one of them “decides” to put on its fall colours two weeks before the others.

My favourite tidbit from this fascinating walk in the woods is the fact that a certain species of tree does not produce seeds every year, presumably to prevent animals from learning to expect them and showing up annually to eat them all. But when the trees decide to go to seed, they synchronize the behaviour for kilometres in every direction.

How do they do that? Humans don’t know. And the trees aren’t telling.—National Post

 “A fascinating walk in the woods.”National Post

“A film like this, and the work it was inspired by, and the new age of understanding it encourages, is a source of hope, the knowledge imparted within indisputable and precious.”Thrillist

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