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A documentary inspired by a painting of an oak in Israel.
Ezra Barnea | Oct 10, 2020
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One of the world's leading oak collections is located in...
Francisco Garin Garcia | Oct 01, 2020

Plant Focus

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A guest post by Matt Candeias, host of the In Defense of Plants podcast and blog

An Artist's View of a Quercus ithaburensis in Israel

I recently came across a new Israeli documentary film: Lullaby for the Valley. This is how it is presented on the Tel Aviv Documentary Film Festival web page:

"Artist Elie Shamir paints the view from his studio balcony—fields stretching to the horizon, ancient oak trees, and a generation of farmers that is disappearing from the vistas of the Jezreel Valley. His large oils are treasured by collectors worldwide. It was director Ben Shani’s encounter with one of Shamir’s works that spawned the idea of documenting the artist at work. Neither of them had any idea that everything would change as the filming progressed, as an unforeseen danger threatened to rob Shamir of his talent. Filmed over the course of ten years, A Lullaby for the Valley focuses on the fascinating figure of Elie Shamir and his paintings. As time passes, like the endless fields of the valley, they are transformed before our very eyes."

According to Ben Shani, it was an oak tree that led to the making of the film. "In the Jezreel Valley, where Elie Shamir lives and paints, you can find many oak trees, many of them hundreds of years old", he said. "The inspiration for me to make this film waA douc After seeing this painting I felt I needed to go and meet the painter in person—and the tree."

The tree in question is a Mt. Tabor oak (Quercus ithaburensis) at Kfar Yehoshua. Back in 2011, Ben made a video of the artist painting this magnificent tree. At the end you can see the finished work that launched the documentary project:

 

Click here to see this oak tree in the Israel Oak Registry. I have added video clips for several trees on the IOR map, including this one (click here to view it).

Here is the official trailer of the documentary, with English subtitles: