This short story by Jean Giono, about one shepherd’s long and successful single-handed effort to re-forest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in France, and accompanying short animated film is one of my all-time favorites. It is narrated by Christopher Plummer who is outstanding. The story is written in words with an efficiency that leaves space for emotion and wonder. The character development is deep and woven into the narrative as a pattern of beauty. This is a story of providence and unconditional generosity. The man and the trees comprise a history worth sharing.
This thirty minute film is highly awarded. It has a rating of 8.6 on IMDB which puts it the class of great films like Saving Private Ryan, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Casablanca. The artistry at first may seem lacking, but as the story unfolds it serves the tale and captures well the depth of feeling that builds as no other could. It never fails to move me with its depiction of humility, simplicity, and accomplishment.
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