Cry Of The Forests was seen as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
So have you noticed how our planet is all kinds of screwed thanks to big industries deciding to put quarterly profits over the concept of humanity living on this planet? I have, it keeps me up at night which is not a thing I needed help doing! Do you know who else has noticed this big problem? The protestors that make up many of the subjects for the film Cry of the Forests and to put this in modern-movie terms, this documentary turns them into environmental Avengers doing their best to defeat the logging company destroying a precious resource… it’s heartbreakingly important.
Cry of the Forests might be set in the South-west forests of Western Australia but the message behind it is pretty applicable everywhere. See, the South-west forests of Western Australia are known for being one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet and have this particularly amazing quality of storing carbon (you know, that substance that’s turning the earth into a slow cooker). Well, that little area is slowly being torn apart and logged by companies who want to take this absolutely incredible and essential resource to use for charcoal, firewood and woodchips… you know, things you could make out of literally any substance other than the trees that might help stop the constant burning!
Throughout Cry of the Forests we get a crash course in the environmental benefits that this specific set of plants and trees has, meet the activists who are putting their own bodies at risk in order to try and save them and even get to see the logging taking place in such clear detail you can almost see the stored carbon emanating from the stumps and going into the air where it can eventually destroy all life on the planet… so, clearly, a happy film that doesn’t at all fill its audience with an existential dread that one didn’t know they could feel by seeing a bunch of trees falling over!
Cry of the Forests is another in the set of “Hour-long documentaries” that have been covered here as part of the foray through the offerings of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and this might be the most important of them all because it is both inspiring and anger-inducing, which is always a great combination to spur people into action. Utilizing interviews with the activists and footage that they snuck around to capture, the film offers an uncompromising look at just how devastating it is when large amounts of forest are harvested.
Watching Cry of the Forests is almost like watching a horror movie at times, with the large destructive logging trucks just trawling through the forests until they find a tree that’s hundreds of years old and has survived so much and just devastate it in seconds. There’s a genuine pain you can feel coming from the film by those who made it, showing just how quickly these beautiful trees get vaporised by a company who are basically destroying forests for pulp. It’s powerfully presented by a documentary that doesn’t even pretend there are two sides to this issue, because there really isn’t.
Where Cry Of The Forests becomes downright brilliant is how it not only points out the negative sides to the logging that’s going on, both environmental and financial (the fact that “Hey, the planet is dying” isn’t enough of a reason will forever baffle me but hey, that’s why I’m not big on capitalism) but it actually offers good viable alternatives that will help protect the forests that need to be protected while still allowing these big companies to have the product that they desire. It’s one thing to just demand change, but to actually suggest viable alternatives really elevates Cry of the Forests to something else.
Most of Cry of the Forests is dedicated to showing just what the protestors are able and willing to do to try and stop the devastation of the rainforests and explains their reasoning incredibly well. By the time they get to explaining why logging these kinds of forests is allowed, you’ll probably already be fuming with rage but the sheer stupidity of the bureaucracy behind all this is stunning enough that it will make you want to pick up some chains and find the nearest piece of deforestation equipment to chain yourself to in solidarity with the protestors.
Cry of the Forests is a powerful work that demands change and will hopefully get many more people to take part in fighting for that change. It’s incredibly well shot and visceral, enough to get you easily emotionally invested in a record amount of time. Its message is strong, clear and essential for everyone to hear. Hopefully, the right people will hear it so we can save these forests before it’s too late.
3 thoughts on “Cry Of The Forests (2020) – They Speak For The Trees”
Thank you Lee Butler, what a great review. It made me laugh and it made me proud. 🙂 (Jane Hammond, Director)
I love this review, thank you. There is something refreshing for the soul to venture into a forest at 3 am on a cold early Spring morning, sit with a bunch of women similar and older than oneself to “speak for the trees”.
I should also mention that the right people did hear the cries of the forest. Last month (September 2021 – 10 months after the film was released) the WA Government announced that it would end all native forest logging in WA by 2024. This is huge victory but the battle to save our forests is not over yet. We still have Alcoa and other bauxite mining companies wanting the clear fell and strip mine our forests and wanting to expand. The logging bans don’t extend to them.
The social impact campaign around the film included getting people to contact their local MPs and ask them to end native forest logging. They did this in numbers and the issue was pushed to the foreground. The government released a survey in June this year asking people about the future of native forest logging and the results were staggering. Of the 17,000 replies just a few hundred wanted logging native forests to continue. The victory built on decades of campaigning for our forests and the film galvanised the public in a massive push to get the issue before the government. It demonstrates the power of the people. The government had told us the issue of native forest logging wasn’t important because no one was making any noise about it. The social impact campaign worked in with the WA Forest Alliance to make a lot of noise and really put native forest logging on the agenda. The WA Government acknowledged the role native forests play in climate change mitigation in drawing down and storing carbon.