Birds of Paradise Lost

Jacques Loeuille dedicates a fascinating documentary to the naturalist painter Jean-Jacques Audubon, “Birds of America”, awarded at the Festival Cinémaplanéte in Metz.

Audubon a répertorié et peint les oiseaux de ce qui était encore alors le Nouveau Monde.
Audubon catalogued and painted the birds of what was then still the New World.

Streets, universities, a zoo in New Orleans, aquariums, squares… bear the name of Jean-Jacques Audubon (1785-1851). A scientist unknown to the French who did his great work in America, where he listed and painted the birds of what was then still the New World. The director Jacques Loeuille pays tribute to him with a fascinating documentary, “Birds of America” (released on May 25), which received the Aquablier d’Or, the Grand Prix of the Festival Cinémaplanéte de Metz, and was presented at the Festival du Cinéma Américain de Deauville.

Born into a family from Nantes, Jean-Jacques Audubon left the banks of the Loire to explore the banks of the Mississippi in the early 19th century. Painter, naturalist, ornithologist, he travelled through Louisiana with his drawing board and his box of colors, and produced absolutely superb plates, a sort of “bible” of the fauna and flora for the following generations. A wonderful work that makes him a pioneer of ecology, because John James Audubon (he Americanized his first names) painted the birds of America at the time when its wilderness was still a paradise.

His magnificent engravings are a real treasure, a scientific reference, the preserved image of birds that have become rare and for some extinct. Jacques Loeuille takes us on a journey in the footsteps of Audubon who represented a world before it disappeared, animals that have disappeared from the landscape. The landscape itself has also disappeared, as this film shows with a perspective of the past and the present. On the banks of the Mississippi, the forests have been replaced by factories, industrial buildings, oil industry installations… The river delta is now one of the most polluted areas on the planet, the valley of cancer, and the “Birds of America” captured by Audubon are now only museum pieces, images of a past and a nature that have disappeared forever.

Patrick TARDI

« Birds of America », un documentaire de Jacques Loeuille (sortie le 25 mai). Festival Cinémaplanéte du 15 au 20 novembre, au cinéma Klub de Metz.

North America,World,