Article on “Bones of the Forest”, coming soon to Regina.
Written by Gerald Saul.

“Bones of the Forest” is a new feature length experimental documentary by Heather Frise and Velcrow Ripper. It mixes incredible time laps cinematography with interviews to draw its audience into its subject, the dying forests of British Columbia. There is an interesting interplay between the whimsical/mystical beauty of the nature in motion woven together with traditional interviews with various people whose lives have intertwined with forestry.

What I found quite intriguing was the choice by these filmmakers to only include older people in their series of interviews, most being over the age sixty. While there appears to be mo shortage of young people working in or against forestry, their absence here presents a thought provoking situation. The subjects interviewed, most of them being involved in protests against logging, convey through their words, deeds and age, their life-long commitment to the protection of our world. None of them could be accused of being rash bandwagon jumpers, shouting the protest of the week. Instead they are able to tell us, clearly and in words which defy rhetoric, how and why the forests came to be of such tremendous concern to them.

Parallel to the environmental angle of forest protection is a discussion of forestry as representational of the continuing colonial invasion of the new world. Parts of the film were shot a few years ago at protests which overshadowed celebrations during the quincentennial of Columbus’s “discovery” of America. This approach, although seemingly obtuse, tied many of the disparate elements of this film together. We soon discover that neither forestry, nor the problems forestry brings with it, are new to this land.

Far from unbiased, “Bones of the Forest” is convincing in its portrayal of the forest as a place of beauty, a place of history and a place in danger.

Gerald Saul 2005