The Living Forest | Chicago Reader

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In the forests of Galicia, a region in northwest Spain celebrated for its striking landscape, the tall pines and oaks live in fear of encroaching woodsmen, especially when a telephone pole erected in their midst boasts of its usefulness, and the adorable animals flee at the sight of hunters. Much of this 2001 computer-animation feature focuses on a timid mole trying to free its beloved and the rest of the mole population from the mansion of a wicked landowner with a yen for fur, though there are some exciting sequences that involve marauding dung flies and the revenge of a tree that's been bent out of shape. Adapting a novel by Wenceslao Fernandez Florez, directors Manolo Gomez and Angel de la Cruz soft-pedal the story's clear ecological message, and they've closely studied the Galician flora and fauna; their craftsmanship is so beguiling that I didn't even mind the sentimental pop ballads. In Spanish with subtitles. 80 min.

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