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CULTURE | 17.04.2018

Movie Night: The Gardener

The Garden of Eden does exist after all: It is located in the Canadian region of Charlevoix, its name is Les Quatre Vents, its size is 81,000 square meters and it is the life’s work of the US gardener Francis Cabot. When documentary filmmaker Sébastien Chabot visited it for the first time in 2007, he was so blown away by its beauty that he decided to memorialize its creator on screen.

However, when Chabot started the project in 2009, the then 84-year-old Cabot was already seriously ill and could not guide his guest through his creation in person – and he died two years later. Mr. Cabot’s voice, therefore, accompanies the camera as a voice-over, as it captures the breathtaking beauty of the landscape that survives its creator: the Japanese corner with its moon bridge and pavilion, the dragonfly lake and the classic English garden. Over four years, Chabot repeatedly filmed the masterpiece of landscape design to capture the best light, the best blooming period.

The resulting film is a compelling post-humous homage to Cabot, who was born in 1925 and whose life is full of twists and turns, almost like a garden labyrinth: His family belonged to the moneyed aristocracy of the United States and after his studies at Harvard, he worked as a financier. Flora was always his passion, however: In addition to his gardens at Les Quatre Vents, which he inherited as a family seat, and his second home in Cold Spring, New York, he deserves credit above all for the establishment of the non-profit organisation Garden Conservatory, which saves neglected gardens in the US, such as that of Alcatraz, and opens them partially to the public.

So if you are still looking for inspiration to plant your balcony, this movie is the next best thing to taking a trip to Canada.