The beautiful Branche festival is back!
The godmother of Branche will be present at this event
Branch is Branch's godmother.
A misinterpretation! It was a misunderstanding! I love his films and the extraordinary poetry they contain, so I was thrilled to say "yes". On D-Day, however, I entered Studio Ghibli, the studio where Miyazaki's cartoons were made, and was shocked to discover that I wasn't allowed to interview Miyazaki. But...Miyazaki!
I said to them, "Give us ten minutes." I was rushing to answer fifteen questions. I had seen almost all his films before meeting him. The interview was then filmed. He was struggling to breathe due to a high fever but answered all of my questions. In 2019, I was able to interview Jacques Perrin, and Michel Ocelot in 2020. Each time I tried to understand their relationship with nature, the role forests played in their lives, their childhoods, and their work. It was thrilling.
You? How important are trees in your artistic life?
They are a major part of my life! It's so much that I don’t know where to start to talk about it...
Perhaps in your early childhood?
My first memory of a forest was quite traumatizing. When I was four years old, I was a boarding student in Chevreuse in the Yvelines. We would walk in the forest bordering the city on Thursdays. I recall feeling a bit distant from the group, and I was accompanied by a friend. We suddenly saw a mushroom picker, and realized that it was an ogre. We were going to be eaten by it. It was terrifying!
I'd read many children's books and was fascinated by the adventures of the little girls in "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Hansel and Gretel." I was awestruck by the gingerbread house.
The large tree that stood in middle of the school yard is a vivid memory for me. This image stuck in my mind and in my body. One day I had just received a BCG injection and my arm was very sore. I leaned against the tree, and I thought very clearly that I was who I was. It was hard to explain but it was a moment when I felt connected to nature, the living and this tree. In a way, I believed that I was not alone but connected to everything. The sting was painful and we had to deal. But this moment of clarity came from the calm provided me by the tree. We both rooted and extended our arms towards the sky.
How did you feel this closeness to trees as a teenager?
Our family lived in Loiret-Cher near many farms. I can still remember riding my bike to get eggs, butter, or goat cheese. For me, the forests were great places of openness and beauty that allowed for communion with nature. Unfortunately, agricultural consolidation had already degraded the area: the hedgerows were uprooted and the forests were reduced to a fragmented state. Indeed, the absence of forest was more striking than the forest itself.
It is not enough that I am able to own a small piece of Parisian garden. It is so mineral-rich that it hurts! Over the last few weeks, it has been a joy to own a small farmhouse in the Landes. It is stunning and the idea of planting a lot more trees over twenty years was a brilliant idea by anyone who lived there. It is also a bird sanctuary so it cannot be built. My bonsai was transported from Parisian trees. He was my partner for thirty years. He is like an old friend to whom I live.
Which is your favorite treed memory from filming?
Naomi Kawase, a director for "Journey to Yoshino", a film that takes place mostly in the forest, was a wonderful choice. The shooting started at 5 o'clock in the morning, as I was living in a small Buddhist temple. It was then that I realized how much the forest meant to me. We forget when we're in town. In the forest, however, we can remember how much we missed it.
This distance is essentially like a fracture that needs to be repaired: The forest soothes, invigorates, and gives us our eyes back. We are easily distracted by the noise, danger, concerns, and the speed of time in town.
Each tree in the forest communicates with a different part of ourselves. It senses a different part within us. The same feelings and vibrations are not felt by birch, oak, or plane trees. Marie-Monique Robin's documentary "The Factory of Pandemics", filmed in Guyana, we slept in hammocks within primary forest. These trees are very different and have a presence that makes them more human, if not more humble.
Interview by Arnaud Gonzague