For San Franciscans who may be unfamiliar with such things, a “season” is when the Earth’s distance from the sun and its axial tilt affect the climate on different parts of the planet. They’re actually a pretty big deal outside the 415 area code and account for why Christmas in Australia falls during its summer. Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud’s nature documentary Seasons takes more of an Ecclesiastes 3:1 approach, considering the different phases nature has gone through since the end of the last planetary winter, 12,000 years ago. Perrin covers the period of trees colonizing the planet to humanity chopping down those trees — it took 3,000 oaks to build a single ship in the British Royal Fleet, we’re told — as well as killing animals for sport, and eventually killing birds with bombs as collateral damage while trying to kill other humans. As to be expected from the directors of Winged Migration, the meditative Seasons is a sparsely narrated collection of often-stunning footage of animals going on about their business, sometimes in spite of humanity’s best efforts. While the Jacqueses’ pro-nature bias is clear, Seasons thankfully lacks the woo and finger-wagging of other recent documentaries such as Love Thy Nature, and it’s a lovely visual experience no matter your feelings about killing animals.
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