Laila Pakalniņa
Latvia | 1997 | 28 min
Language : no dialogue

The oak tree in Seja is roughly 700 years old. Around this monumental tree, the peaceful and repetitive life goes on in the village, a group of houses in the middle of the forest. It is an almost unworldly existence in a condition of absolute simplicity where people are grateful for a hot cup of coffee and a good potato harvest.

The ancient oak tree in Seja is approximately 700 years old and we feel its magnificent presence from the very first frame. With peaceful panoramic shots the camera repeatedly captures the bark of the oak, while the sounds evoke both a concrete and ethereal entity. The most wonderful things can happen to the people living around the tree, like eating a cake, having a bath, reading Dickens, dancing. “When I saw this oak, one of the biggest and oldest in Latvia, I started to think that all those hundreds of years it has observed people living around. And I also heard that oak trees have very special influence on their surroundings. So I understood that I want to film people who live nearby and whom the oak has the possibility to observe now. To reveal the influence of the oak, I decided to ask everyone the same question – what good has happened to you? Yes, I thought this was the only topical question. And, for example, I definitely did not want to ask people – what do you think of the present government? In the presence of the oak tree this was not important.” Laila Pakalnina

Atelier Laila Pakalnina

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