The Man Who Planted Trees – Quantifying Happiness   Leave a comment

L’homme qui plantait des arbres (The Man Who Planted Trees)
Directed by: Frederic Back
Country: Canada
Runtime: 30 minutes
Voice: Christopher Plummer, Philippe Noiret

For a human character to reveal truly exceptional qualities, one must have the good fortune to be able to observe its performance over many years. If this performance is devoid of all egoism, if its guiding motive is unparalleled generosity, if it is absolutely certain that there is no thought of recompense and that, in addition, it has left its visible mark upon the earth, then there can be no mistake.

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 …and indeed there is no mistake when you talk about Elzeard Bouffier – A fictional character of L’homme qui plantait des arbres(The Man Who Planted Trees); an animated film of a book by Jean Giono , which tells the story of a shepherd (Elzeard Bouffier) who reforests a barren part of France. It won an Academy Award for best animated short film in 1987. Attached with Jean Giono’s poetical affluence and with the vibrant images of Frederic Back, the short movie comes together in constructing a deep sense of reverence for the spirit of great beauty, hope that it naturally evokes. Strangely, Shreya Ghoshal’s tweet (Weren’t we given evidences that we are not even the size of a speck in the whole of the universe. Still we carry boulders of arrogance within us!! ) reminded me of this long lost and forgotten masterpiece.

In parallel with Elzeard Bouffier Buddha-like persona, the book’s author Jean Giono says that “I wrote this story to make people love trees, or more precisely to make people love planting trees. Of all my stories it is one of the ones of which I am most proud. It has never earned me a penny and for that reason it has accomplished the very purpose for which it was written.” And the film unequivocally convinces that however bad life/world may seem, there is always something one can do, succeed, inspire and thus proudly conveying humanity is admirable and at the same time marvel at  greatness of Human spirit, its tenacity of benevolence.

References:
The Man who planted Trees – pdf
L’homme qui plantait des arbres (The Man Who Planted Trees)
Fredreic Back – Filmography

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