Red Trees
Sony Pictures // Unrated // $30.99 // January 23, 2018
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted April 22, 2018
Highly Recommended
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Graphical Version
Red Trees Blu-ray Review

Red Trees is a documentary film from acclaimed filmmaker Marina Willer (Cartas da Mae). The documentary explores the lives of holocaust survivors who made the best of their lives following the devastation of WWII and the atrocities which were committed against the Jewish people. It explores the livelihoods of several families who went on to great things in life: in art, culture, and various fields, including stories of filmmaker Marina Willer's own family, which was only one of twelve families to survive the Nazi's in Prague during WWII.

Red Trees works wonders as a tone poem film which ebbs and flows between exploring the stories of these survivors. The film is beautifully shot by the brilliant cinematographer César Charlone (City of God) and the rich colors and vibrancy of the cinematography paints the story with delicate hues of emotion and the kind of authenticity that is found in the best documentary explorations.

Narrated by Tim Pigott-Smith (Quantum of Solace) as though the narrator were the documentary filmmaker's father, Mr. Alfred Willer, the narration explores the trajectory of the lives of these individuals highlighted in this portrait. With an essay-like approach, the film's narration is a exploratory style experience which adds great layers to the story being told.

Though documentaries centered around the holocaust can be a challenge for audiences to watch considering the depressing and gut-wrenching nature of the history, Red Trees manages to bring a somewhat different style of approach to the forefront by being a celebration of life at the same time as it's an account of history. While the film has plenty of stories to tell with heartache, it's a film that manages to celebrate the survivors, their individual successes, and their approach to continuing on in life with gusto and enthusiasm.  This stood out as something unique to this documentary. Red Trees is a moving portrait and experience which stands out as a worthy documentary about holocaust survivors and their families. A moving experience and one audiences should seek to explore.

The Blu-ray:


Red Trees arrives on Blu-ray with a stunning 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation in the original 1.85:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio. This is an impressive presentation of the film. With excellent photography by César Charlone, Red Trees is impressively filmed and rendered on this release. There is an excellent use of color and the overall clarity of the imagery is superb.


Presented with DTS-HD Master Audio, Red Trees has a solid lossless audio sound presentation. While it has a somewhat flat and uninvolving surround mix, the clarity of the audio impresses and works well for the filmmaking. This is a crisp audio presentation which reproduces the dialogue effectively.

English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are included.


Inside of the case is a printed booklet, featuring photographs and credits for the film.

Interview with Director Marina Willer (2 min.) features an insightful (if brief) exploration of the importance of the film to the filmmaker.  

Theatrical Trailer(2 Min.)

Final Thoughts:

Red Trees is a moving and insightful documentary about survivors of the holocaust. It's an essay-like film which tells its story with clear thoughtfulness. Marina Willer made an excellent film which should be explored and discussed by audiences.

Highly Recommended.

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