AlterEgo Films : société de production et de distribution


A film by Sophie Bruneau and Marc-Antoine Roudil

"Arbres" (Trees) is the story of the Tree and trees. It begins with the Origins and then embarks upon a journey through the world of the tree and the trees of the world. The film reveals the huge differences and slight similarities between the Tree and Man, investigating the fascinating idea that, amongst plants, the tree fulfils the role played by man in the animal kingdom.

"Arbres" is a voyage through a new dimension of time and space, in which we meet trees that talk and walk, that are sometimes shy and sometimes crazy… ‘Arbres’ will challenge some received ideas, starting with the premise that though we often notice the animals that run along a tree’s branches, we rarely notice the tree itself.

2001 / 50' / 35mm / 1,66 / Color / Dolby SR / Broadcast license 106 233

Photography : Antoine Marie Meert
Voice over : Sophe Bruneau
Scientific advisor : Francis Hallé
Narrator - English version : Marianne Faithfull
Narrator - French version : Michel Bouquet
Narrator - German version : Otto Sander
Sound : Marc-Antoine Roudil, Benoit Bruwier
Production manager : Sandrine Valageas
Editing : Philippe Boucq
Sound editing : Etienne Curchod
Sound Mixing : Philippe Baudhuin
Grip : Olivier Marrel

Executive producers Belgium : Anne Deligne and Daniel De Valck
Executive producer France : Delphine Morel and Jacques Debs

Production : ADR Productions (Paris), Arte France, Cobra Films (Brussels), Ciné Manufacture (Lausanne) in co-production with Docstar, TSR-Télévision Suisse Romande, Carré Noir-RTBF, IRD-Institut de recherche pour le développement, Wallonie Image Production, with the support of the European Commission, Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique and the Walloon Cable distributors, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Ministère de l'Aménagement du Territoire et de l'Environnement, Procirep.

First shown in Belgium : Tuesday13 of November 2001, Arenberg-Galeries, Brussels
First shown in France : Tuesday 26th of March 2002, the European House for photography, Paris
First broadcast in Belgium on : RTBF, Friday16 of November 2001 at 9,40 PM
First broadcast in France and Germany on : ARTE, Thursday 4th of April 2002 at 11,05 PM
Article "Comment filmer l'arbre" (How to film the tree) by Sophie Bruneau and Marc-Antoine Roudil published in the collective book "L'arbre dans le paysage" (The tree in the landscape), Editions Champ Vallon, 2002, pp.247-275.

Distribution in Belgium : Alter Ego Films
Distribution in France : ADR Productions

Distribution in Canada : 400 Films
DVD : Editions Montparnasse
International sales : ARTE

Awarded in the following festivals :

  • Environment Festival's Prize, 2003, Paris
  • URTI 2002 's Documentary Prize, Bronze medal
  • Ecocinema's Best Film Prize for short film, Rhodes, 2003
  • Cinefeuille's Best Film Prize, Gaillac, 2007

Selected in the following festivals :

  • 13th International documentary film festival, Marseille, 2002
  • 17th Nature and environment film festival, Grenoble, 2002
  • Banff International Film Festival, 2003
  • 26th Goteborg film festival, 2003
  • Rotterdam International Film Festival, 2003
  • 38th Solothurn film festival, Soleure, 2003
  • 21st Environment film festival, Paris, 2003
  • 2nd Chicago international documentary festival, 2004
  • Cinéfeuille Festival, 2007
  • and Beirut, Durban, Seoul, Cape Town, Shangai...

Article published in 'Les Inrockuptibles' n° 357, 25th of September to 1st of October 2000

Precious wood

A superbly composed documentary film about trees; beautiful and mysterious.
Maybe this week, you're fed up with these never-ending romantic comedies where heroes are looking for love and find it and where good triumphs over evil? You're fed up with these films full of special effects? You're fed up with stroboscopic editing, which under the cover of action and speed, stuff your head with empty agitation and blind you? More generally, you can't stand the sound and fury of the modern world anymore and you are overwhelmed by an excess of furious misanthropy?

Then, this week, Arbres (Trees) is made for you. There isn't any story or character in this uncommon film. Let's rather say that there are some but not of the kind we are used to. The characters are the tress in their whole diversity: Large, thin, small, tall, leafy, dry, bald, wiry, gnarled... In short, a whole humanity... sorry, the whole of vegetation in its distinctness and diversity. And if you think that you know everything about trees or that they hold no interest because we see them everyday without even paying attention to them, don't believe it. Here, we rediscover them and we learn some quite strange things. For example, in Africa, there are walking trees that move according to geological, topographic or climatic modifications. We are at the edge of fantasy, yet it is real.

Arbres (Trees) is not only an interesting documentary destined for an ecologic use or a nice tool for natural science programs. It is above all a beautiful film that teaches us again the rigor of cinema - the length, the framing, the reflection and the construction of the shots and the spaces – against the tiny spaces and the counted time of any TV's every day output. (Here we mention the TV because this film as also been broadcast on Arte last spring).

In a word, this film resists the dominant image. While watching it, we remember that any great filmmaker, from Hitchcock to Oliverira, from Rohmer to Kiarostami, have, at one point or another of their career, filmed trees intensively.

Serge Kaganski