More than 25 years after Artavazd Pelechian’s previous film, the now 82-year-old director has surprised the world with a new work. The simple title masks a film of great complexity about the magnificence and destructive power of nature. The film is made up of found footage sequences that cast humankind as a puny match for the great forces of nature, such as volcanic eruptions, roiling floods, hurricanes and tornados.
Although much of the footage was plucked from the internet, Pelechian shapes them in such a way that they merge seamlessly with his own utterly unique style, one that he has been steadily refining throughout his career. In short, the images are black-and-white, free of dialogue, and tend to have a monumental quality. They gain meaning when subjected to Pelechian’s celebrated “distance montage” technique, with repetition and subtle variation generating the work’s poetic intensity.
Using this highly individual but nonetheless timeless film idiom, in La Nature Pelechian presents us with an utterly contemporary and urgent film that shakes us from the illusion that humanity can control nature.