The Trees

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The Trees (Los Arboles)

Directed by Mariano Luque

  • Argentina 2017; 61 min
  • Original version: Spanish
  • Genre: Documentary
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The “trees” of the title are those planted by Macias, the filmmaker’s grandfather and an outstanding landscaper-gardener who created the forested landscape “El Silencio”, in the mountains near Córdoba in Argentina. The death of the nonagenarian, whom he had scarcely known, gives Mariano Luque the opportunity to meet the children from his grandfather’s second marriage. He also explores a place whose sentimental dimension was described to him by his aunts – an Eden already lost as Macias’ many descendants eventually sold it. The film bears the delicate imprint of a new, albeit diffuse affection for the young cousins who regularly come to care for the cedar under which the deceased’s ashes lie. The pleasure of filming nature blends with the awareness that these places have been shaped by the hand of a man “still referred to by his surname, as if it were a brand”. Demiurgical, the presence-absence of a “larger than life” ancestor adds to the genealogical vertigo (the grandfather’s last-born daughters are younger than the grandson). Observing a family that is not quite his own, Mariano Luque invents a new kind of family film that gracefully fluctuates between the first and third person, between mistrust and admiration, between portrait and landscape.