Nature documentaries may be plentiful on cable TV, but they rarely connect at the box office—March of the Penguins (2005), the biggest nature film of all time, grossed only $127 million worldwide (compared to $2 billion for the most recent Star Wars sequel). By this modest standard, French filmmakers Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud have been phenomenally successful. Their first two features are firmly lodged among the genre’s top ten: Winged Migration (2001), a stirring account of migratory birds, earned $32 million for Sony Classics, and Oceans (2009), a study of marine life, grossed $82 million for Disney. Seasons, which was picked up for U.S. distribution by Chicago’s own Music Box Films, is the duo’s best effort yet, an unerringly dramatic—and largely wordless—film that spans 20,000 years, from the last Ice Age to the environmental crises of the 21st century. Having scoured the sea and sky, Perrin and Cluzaud now focus on the forests of Europe, finding endless conflict among the species; these little tableaux reveal a constantly shifting balance of power, yet on a geologic scale, the animals’ real contest is with man as he moves into the forest and makes it his own. Continue reading >>