Ursi's Eso Garden
Your Competent Esoteric Guide
Wednesday, 28. November 2007
The Man Who Planted Trees
If you like trees, this will fill your heart up. A film of great beauty and hope, this story is a remarkable parable for all ages and an inspiring testament to the power of one person.
The Man Who Planted Trees (French title L'homme qui plantait des arbres), also known as 'The Story of Elzéard Bouffier'; 'The Most Extraordinary Character I Ever Met'; and 'The Man who Planted Hope and Reaped Happiness' is an allegorical tale by French author Jean Giono, published in 1953.
The story begins in the year 1910 when this young man is undertaking a lone hiking trip through Provence, France, and into the Alps, enjoying the relatively unspoiled wilderness.
The narrator runs out of water in a treeless, desolate valley where only wild lavender grows and there is no trace of civilization except old, empty crumbling buildings. The narrator finds only a dried up well, but is saved by a middle-aged shepherd who takes him to a spring he knows of.
Curious about this man, and why he has chosen such a lonely life, the narrator stays with him for a time. The shepherd, after being widowed, has decided to restore the ruined ecosystem of the isolated and largely abandoned valley by single-handedly cultivating a forest, tree by tree. The shepherd, Elzéard Bouffier, makes holes in the ground with his curling pole and drops into the holes acorns that he has collected from many miles away ...
A true story? The story itself is so touching that many readers have believed that Elzéard Bouffier was a genuine historical figure and that the narrator of the story was a young Jean Giono himself, and that so the tale is part autobiographical. Sorry to disappoint you, but Elzéard Bouffier is a fictional person.
This Oscar winning, animated adaptation of the story was produced by Frédéric Back in 1987 and narrated by Christopher Plummer. You can also read the short story here.
Worth watching twice ...
Duration 30 minutes.
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