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On her own, almost 200 feet up in an old-growth redwood tree, Julia Butterfly Hill led a nation of environmentally aware activists by example. Climbing up the tree in order to protect it and to spread the word that old-growth forests are disappearing and not coming back, she is revered as a heroine by many in the environmental movement. Butterfly documents her experience and struggle, from her spiritual connection with the forest and Luna (the tree she called home for two years) to the reactions of local loggers, Earth First! protestors, and other concerned citizens. Though the film is certainly biased toward Butterfly's cause, the viewer still gets a better understanding of the needs and concerns of local people, despite, not because of, the logging company's pathetically desperate shilling. Though some of the singing and poetry might grate on those whose aesthetics have matured a bit past their undergraduate years, the emphasis on interviews brings out the vital spirit of Butterfly and her supporters just as well. Her experience might be foreign to most viewers, but her direct, genuine expression of her feelings is no more alienating than a walk through a beautiful virgin forest. --Rob LightnerFrom the Back Cover:
In December 1997, Julia Hill climbed into a thousand-year-old redwood = tree to save it from logging; her action galvanized an already intense dispute over the fate of Northern California's old-growth forests. Over two years later, Hill came down, having saved the tree and hillside surrounding it. As told in Doug Wolens' remarkable new film, BUTTERFLY, Hill's decision to live high above the reach of even Pacific Lumber's most fearless climbers forced everyone to react - supporters, allies, and the press, as well as loggers and sometimes unsympathetic locals.
"I gave my word to Luna and the forest," the barefoot renegade says, as we see her clambering up and down the upper branches of the immense tree against a cloud-raptured mountainside.
Wolens' interviews over two years, including six nights with Hill on her 180-foot high platform, reveal an intensely spiritual and articulate woman determined to accomplish her goal. We get a sense of the awesome beauty of her days and nights lived in an ancient tree, of the horror of being assaulted by lumber company helicopters, and of the strangeness of a fierce media scrutiny seeking out a woman in a tree.
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