The Woods Dreams are Made of (“Le bois dont les rêves sont faits”), by Claire Simon
The Woods Dreams are Made of is a feature-length documentary film about the Bois de Vincennes park and the unusual personalities who visit it every day. An enchanting film about the city’s relationship with nature.
A director of documentaries and fiction alike
Born in London in 1955, Claire Simon spent her childhood in the Var region of southern France, before studying Arabic and Berber ethnology. She began her work in cinema as an editor, then learned the techniques of direct cinema, a type of documentary once called “cinéma-vérité”, at the Ateliers Varan.
She is the director of 9 short films, including Domestic Stages (“Scènes de ménage”) with actress Miou-Miou (1991), 8 documentaries such as At all Costs (“Coûte que coûte”) (1995), Mimi (2002) and The Woods Dreams are Made of (2016), as well as 5 feature-length fictional films, including A Foreign Body (“Sinon, oui”) (1997), God’s Offices (“Les Bureaux de Dieu”) (2008) and Gare du Nord (2013) with Nicole Garcia.
An ode to nature
In The Woods Dreams are Made of, Claire Simon films the Bois de Vincennes park and the people who enjoy it every day: walkers, athletes, families, fishing addicts, amateur ornithologists, the homeless and even prostitutes.
In their own ways, they all tell us what links them to this microcosm of greenery at the gates of Paris, creating a set of very different stories which are connected by the common thread of communing with nature in this relaxing and transportive atmosphere. A delicate and poetic film about city dwellers seeking internal peace.
A realist film
The Bois de Vincennes Park is a place that the director knows well, as she walks there regularly. After having met diverse and colourful personalities there, she decided to put them on screen in a documentary.
In order not to disturb reality or interrupt the flow of the forest's events, Claire Simon and her film crew travel by bicycle, with minimal equipment. The interviews are carried out using a camera on a tripod, which is quickly forgotten by her subjects. Each scene of this documentary is filmed with total concern for authenticity.
The Woods Dreams are Made of has been selected at many international festivals: The French Film Festival at the Alliance Française in New Zealand (2016), the IndieLisboa International Independent Film Festival in Lisbon, Portugal (2016), the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival in Argentina (2016), the Rotterdam International Film Festival in the Netherlands (2016), and before that at the Tübingen International Francophone Film Festival in Stuttgart in Germany (2015) and the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland (2015).
The Woods Dreams Are Made of (“Le bois dont les rêves sont faits”, 2015) is distributed internationally by the Institut français.
This film was notably offered as part of the "Spotlight on French Creation" programme for Documentary Film Month in 2017. With the help of the Institut français, this event highlights French documentary across the French cultural network abroad.