Updated: Nov 3, 2020
Written and Directed by: #GraceBanks
Documentary film review by: Brian Penn
The broad landscape of film making never ceases to surprise and enlighten this reviewer; occasionally, a complete change of pace is a breath of fresh air and blows the mental cobwebs away. A Tapestry of Life digs deep into the ecology as we lead increasingly frantic lives. Grace Banks creates an engaging, almost hypnotic view of the world we frequently neglect. She provides an infinitely more gripping case for conservation than a year’s worth of Extinction Rebellion protests could ever achieve. No need to glue oneself to the Shell Building or pitch a tent in Parliament Square. Just allow the goodness and purity of nature to speak for itself.
This is achieved using the beautiful Scottish countryside and a schools project studying two rivers that run through Aberdeenshire. The River Dee rises in the Cairngorms and flows through to the North Sea at Aberdeen. It is part of the Cairngorms National Park and the Lochnagar National Scenic Area. The river is popular with anglers, and is one of the most famous salmon fishing rivers in the world. The River Don rises in the Grampians and flows eastwards to the North Sea at Aberdeen. Similarly, it attracts visitors for salmon and trout fishing as well as its castles and scenery.
The schools project aims to instil an awareness of nature and the environment; an opportunity to appreciate earth’s greatest creations and the wonder of nature. Local children do their part to save the earth, dispose of waste responsibly and minimise the use of plastic. Their personal accounts are interspersed with a quietly compelling narrative by Grace Banks. Tales of life on the river are told with warmth and reverence. The pace is steady but never hurried and reminds us that we should, from time to time stop and smell the roses.
It never patronises or scolds the viewer for a lack of awareness; only the genuine desire to show what constantly slips our attention. It quite rightly poses the question of who might protect the world in years to come. Will the beauty of nature be irrevocably broken by a voracious appetite for material gain? As with most things in life there is a balance to be struck. A good place to start is with the children; today’s adults have made a mess of the environment; maybe tomorrow’s adults will fare better – let’s hope so.