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Director of “SEASONS (LES SAISONS)”, the story of the past 20,000 years on earth, talks nature filming secrets


©2015 TIFF

During his visit to Japan, Jacques Cluzaud gave greetings from the stage at the official screening of his nature documentary SEASONS, which he co-directed, on 23 October at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. Cluzaud is attending the festival for the first time since his film Oceans (2009) was shown at the 22nd festival. He smiled as he said that he was very moved that so many people came to see his film.

Cluzaud and Jacques Perrin, who have been working together for over 15 years on films including Winged Migration and Oceans, captured the story of life as it has evolved over the past 20,000 years, overwhelmingly. “We had filmed birds flying through the sky and fish and sea mammals in the ocean, and after that we wanted to film animals on the earth, but felt that that would not be enough to constitute a film. After about 1 year, we thought that we would position the inhabitants of the forests in time and space, and describe their history”, he explained.

Over 70 different types of animals appear in the documentary, and he said they were especially careful with how they filmed the lynx. “We show how the lynx develops right from a cub, and they were great actors who stuck with us through the whole process of filming. They are very good at expressing their emotions”, he reflected.

For each documentary they film, Cluzaud and Perrin seek out the next filming technology. They incorporated the world’s first completely silent miniature buggy into the filming of this documentary, and Cluzaud said “it was able to keep up with animals that had very nimble movements, and we challenged it to capture the very heartthrob of life”. They were successful in being able to film from the eye line of the animals. They filmed even in harsh environments, and spoke of the secret to projecting images of nature in a vivid way. “We had to find animals that were similar to the animals living in the ice age, so we filmed animals that still looked very primitive, like the musk ox. However, it was not enough simply to film the animals, we had to see them in really harsh environments, and it was really important to wait for the right moments so we could overcome the transitions in nature.”

He also said “There is still wild nature left on this earth. We must not let it disappear completely. This documentary comes with a message, and that is to look at the wild world with a new perspective.” He can’t say anything about his next documentary yet, but when asked whether he was interested in Japanese nature, he answered that he was. He pleased his fans by saying “it is something completely unknown to me, and I would be pleased to be able to film it in the future.”

The 28th Tokyo International Film Festival runs until 31 October. SEASONS will be released nationwide from January 15, 2016. Tsurube Shofukutei and Fumino Kimura will be providing the voices for the narration of the Japanese dubbed version. The 28th Tokyo International Film Festival runs until 31 October.

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KEIRIN.JPThe 28th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
27th Tokyo International Film Festival(2014)