From the directors of 2009's Oceans, Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, comes an alternative approach to documentary filmmaking with Seasons. The $35 million nature documentary portrays seasonal change over a span of several millennia as well as the perspective of animals that coexist with humans who, as we all know, ultimately destroy the environment.

Although Seasons is less than two hours long, the film is overstuffed with scenes that are supposed to cover the last 10 million years. The filmmakers are careful not to discriminate against the smaller forest life, allowing a good chunk of screen time for spiders spinning webs and beetles walking across trees. We follow a pack of wolves hunting a pig and a pack of humans who brutally shoot one wolf after another in a fashion so intensely up-close-and-personal one might almost assume it is computer generated imaging.

Seasons' cinematography also seems too good to be true, and some scenes raise questions about the logistics of observing animals from a distance. It's hard to believe Perrin and Cluzaud were able to get close enough to bears fighting, let alone somehow catch wolves running from four different up-close angles. And how on earth did they just so happen to stumble upon a perfectly composed, full-sized rack of detached deer antlers in a sunny clearing? The composition and heavily cinematic editing begin to beg the question: Is this a nature documentary, or a staged film based on a true history?

Unlike Perrin and Cluzaud's previous works, the lack of narration allows viewers to openly interpret the film. This makes Seasons more peaceful, but the overtly informative aspects of documentaries are sorely missed. If you don't mind creating your own internal narration, this may be an enjoyable watch for you. If, however, you thrive on the tried-and-true method of a voiceover, you may feel ripped off and lied to because you thought you'd be watching a nature documentary. (Kim Jones)


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Center for Contemporary Arts,
97 min