MDFF Review: Cry of The Forests

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Directed, produced, edited and written by Jane Hammond
Narrated by Kelton Pell

Review by Gavin Bond

While there have been numerous environmentally themed documentaries to hit the big screen over the last decade or so (An Inconvenient Truth, My Octopus Teacher, the 11th Hour) this modestly made but enlightening locally made doco is quite unique.

Cry of The Forests is a multi-layered look at the current plight of Western Australia’s South-West forests.

The aptly named documentary explores the damage done to the picturesque natural forests in towns such as Pemberton, Manjimup and Bridgetown, and the numerous contributing factors.

This alarming situation is initially due to the continuing deforestation in the South West, that continues unabated despite the presence of seemingly considerable public awareness campaigns and protests.

Add to this dire situation, the rampant effect of dieback to our Jarrah trees, and the detrimental environmental impact caused by the ongoing mining of Bauxite.

Further complications arise from the devastating emergence of global warming and resultant shortage of rainfall and dried up ground water.

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As a result, these towering ecosystems, which includes a range of endangered species, are at great risk of devastation and extinction.

Although Cry of the Forests has obvious cinematic limitations due to its modest budget, the evocative use of sweeping aerial drone footage proves to be visually striking and revealing.

The eclectic collection of interviews with impassioned activists, environmental scientists and residents, is also effective in illuminating the sheer futility and wasteful practice of native tree felling, which is harmful both environmentally and economically to the South-West region.

The main strength and appeal of independent filmmaker Jane Hammond’s timely call to action is the inclusion of solutions and alternatives to deforestation, such as sustainable tree plantation initiatives and programs.

One can only hope that Cry of the Forests will help remedy the disturbing and inexplicable public lack of awareness, complacency and apathy towards this unnecessary crisis.

Cry of the Forests will be screening as part of the 6th Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. The festival runs from the 1st -31st July 2021 Online and the 21st – 31st July 2021 In-Cinema at Cinema Nova as part of Documentary Month.

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