Hot Docs 2014: The Creator of the Jungle Review

The Creator of the Jungle

The Creator of the Jungle

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For over 45 years, one of the world’s best unknown artists has been toiling away in the Spanish forests. Garrell (real name Josep Pijula) has crafted some of the most gorgeous hidden structures known to man: sky high towers built up in the trees, enormous and elaborate labyrinths,  and intricate huts and art installations. Although mainly doing it for himself, Garrell (who also made several no budget films with friends that cast himself as Tarzan trying to keep intruders out) wanted to share his structures with the world, something that became impossible thanks to run ins with vandals and the local government, forcing him to tear down and rebuild something bigger and better from scratch over the course of decades.

Sometimes quite funny (those Tarzan movies are a gas) and always deeply moving and inspiring, this is a film that starts out interesting and keeps getting progressively better and better as it goes on. Every time you think director, writer, and narrator Jordi Morató’s story has peaked, something new and potentially heartbreaking happens.

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Also, with the exception of the final third where he finally meets up with Garrell, Morató gets very lucky that an enormous amount of footage was shot on VHS during the construction of these wooded hideaways. The job is almost done for him as a filmmaker, but the assembly of it all is top notch. It’s definitely one of the biggest sleeper surprises of this year’s festival, but much like Garrell’s work, it probably won’t be seen by many after this. Make this one a priority item while you still have time. You won’t regret it. (Andrew Parker)

Remaining Screenings

Sunday, April 27th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3, 3:30pm

Saturday, May 3rd, Scotiabank 3, 3:15pm

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