The living soil (1982)

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The living soil (1982)


  Last updated March 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm


Without spoken commentary, this film depicts both the life of the soil and the life within it. The parent rock weathers, and soil is born. It cracks under the Sun, then rain brings it back to life: seeds germinate, and animals burrow and bustle below and above the soil”s surface. To complete the chemical cycle, fungi, agents of decay, flourish, themselves to decay in turn. Scavenging insects pick a mouse corpse clean, and a new generation of shoots sprouts among the bones.

Photographic techniques reveal actions that our senses cannot otherwise register. Slow-motion anatomizes the impact of a water drop on sand; time-lapse photography eliminates transient details and emphasizes processes, such as the growth of roots and shoots and the removal of soft tissue from a dead animal. These processes, being slow, fail to catch our attention on a brief nature ramble, but they power the mechanism of the living soil. As the film”s introduction states: ”the soil is both the source and the product of the cycle of life and decay”.

For many people, soil is just `dirt”. Yet through a fresh eye – that of the camera – they will see soil as the home of a vital community.

This film screened in Australia as a Theatrical short with the original release of Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back.

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