The Botanist Events Programme

The Botanist Events Programme

Thu 4 May - Sun 24 September

Times and dates tbc




Enys Men

Cornwall | 2022 | 96’ | 15 | Mark Jenkin | Mary Woodvine, Edward Rowe

On an uninhabited island off the Cornish coast in 1973, a wildlife volunteer’s daily observations of a rare flower take a dark turn into the strange and metaphysical, forcing her to question what is real and what is nightmare. Is the landscape not only alive but sentient? Shot on grainy 16mm film stock, this is a mind-bending follow up to Bait.


A Field in England 

UK | 2013 | 87’ | 15 | Ben Wheatley 

Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Julian Barratt, Ryan Pope 

In the 17th century, amid the English Civil War, a group of deserters flee from battle through an overgrown field. Captured by an alchemist, the men fall victim to the powerful energies in the earth. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, this exploration of the land beneath our feet and its murky history within, is shot by Laurie Rose in glorious black and white. 

“Breathtakingly lovely and genuinely unsettling… early 70s folk-horror is a key influence. But so are the experimental films of Maya Deren and Stan Brakhage” 

Tom Huddleston, Time Out 


The Miracle on George Green 

UK | 2022 | 12’ | Onyeka Igwe

Fascinated as a child by the English Civil War, the Levellers and the Diggers, Onyeka Igwe created this beautiful short film. Borne of walking through Hackney Marshes in 2020, this is an exploration of political defeat, the romanticism of nature and nostalgia for the concept of Common Land.  



Argentina | 2022 | 83’ | adv15 | Leandro Listorti 

An exploration into botanical and filmic preservation, this essay film details the methodical and determined work of archivists. An account of the immense labour of classification and presentation as forms of representation and memory, we see the artistic and political motivations within each of the areas of archival processes and how the two worlds weave together, overcoming the corrosion of time.  

“Achieves the unity of time and space… Herbaria tells us the history of cinema is not linear, but instead is as cyclical as nature.” 

Vladlan Petkovic, Cineuropa 


The Gleaners and I 

France | 2000 | 79’ | PG | Agnès Varda | French with English subtitles 

Taking inspiration from the 1867 painting by Jean-François Millet, Agnès Varda speaks to people who scavenge. A practice enshrined in the French constitution, from surplus in the fields, fish washed up after a storm, to rubbish in dustbins; these ‘gleaners’ unknowingly recreate the community activities of centuries past. A meditative documentary with the brightly inquisitive narration and the carefully curious eye of innovative filmmaker Varda.  

“In its frames, we see [Varda's] empathy, skill, curiosity, wit, poetry and passion for life: everything she has gleaned from a lifetime of love and movies.” 

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune 



USA | 2022 | 64’ | adv12A | Jumana Manna 

Shot in Golan Heights, the Galilee and Jerusalem, this mix of archival footage, documentary and fiction portrays the practice of foraging for wild edible plants in the disputed lands. Restrictions prohibit the collection of artichoke-like ‘akkoub and za’atar, resulting in fines and court orders for anyone caught collecting these native plants. For Palestinians, the law further alienates them from their land; whilst Israeli state representatives insist on the duty to protect for ecological and scientific reasons. Told with wry humour and a gentle pace, this film captures the joy and knowledge embodied in these traditions whilst raising questions about the politics of extinction. 


Embrace of the Serpent 

Colombia | 2015 | 119’ | 12 | Ciro Guerra | Spanish, Portuguese with English subtitles 

Nilbio Torres, Antonio Bolívar 

In the early 1900s, Karamakate, a young shaman in the Colombian Amazon and the last of his people, helps a sick German explorer and his local guide search for a rare healing plant. Inspired by the journals of two real-life explorers, Guerra constructs a fictional knit of their experiences as the travellers experience the horrific aftermath of the rubber boom in the South American jungle.  

“I was utterly mesmerised, captivated and transported.” 
Mark Kermode, Observer 


Silent Running 

USA | 1972 | 89’ | PG | Douglas TrumbullBruce Dern 

After the end of all botanical life on Earth, ecologist Freeman Lowell maintains a greenhouse on a space station in order to preserve various plants for future generations. Assisted by three robots and a small human crew, Lowell rebels when he’s ordered to destroy the greenhouse in favour of carrying cargo, a decision that puts him at odds with everyone but his mechanical companions. Lowell and his robots are forced to do anything necessary to keep their invaluable greenery alive. 

“Delivers its ecological message with humour and imagination… deeply moving” 

Phillip French, The Guardian 



UK | 2018 | 115’ | 15 | Alex Garland | Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh

After her husband returns a changed man from a secret military expedition to The Shimmer, a mysterious alien zone where the laws of nature do not apply, Lena enters as one of a carefully picked team of scientists hoping to learn its secrets. Annihilation is loosely adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy and features a pulsing, haunting score from Geoff Barrow



USA | 2020 | 115 mins | 12A (TBC) | Lee Isaac Chung | Korean with English subtitles 

Steven Yeun, Yuh-jung Youn 

A Korean American family move to rural Arkansas in search of their own American Dream. Novice farmers, Jacob and Monica Yi are determined to grow a minari crop and root their family more fully in the culture of an occasionally hostile land. Aided by an eccentric neighbour and Monica’s sly, foul-mouthed mother, amidst the instability and challenges of this new life, the family learns how to be resilient and make a home. A tender story, inspired by filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung’s father and featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Yuh-jung Youn. 

“An enchanting drama of faith and farming… boosted by terrific performances, glowing visuals and a wonderful musical score.” 
Mark Kermode, Observer 



USA | 2017 | 121’ | 18 | Darren Aronofsky | Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem 

A young woman spends her days renovating the country mansion that she lives in with her husband. When a stranger knocks on the door one night, he becomes an unexpected guest in their home. Later, his wife and two children also arrive to make themselves welcome. Terror soon strikes when the beleaguered wife tries to figure out why her husband is so seemingly friendly and accommodating to everyone but her. A darkly comic, intense drama analogy about the fall of man.  

“A paranoid nightmare that starts out like Polanski’s Repulsion and winds up closer to Apocalypse Now, [Aronofsky] has stretched the envelope of outrageous mainstream cinema to breaking point – and beyond… a delirious, disgraceful experience.” 

Mark Kermode, Observer 



Little Joe  

UK | 2019 | 105’ | 12A | Jessica Hausner  

Emily Beecham, Ben Whishaw 

Single mother and scientist Alice is a dedicated plant breeder developing a new species. She has engineered a very special flower, remarkable not only for its beauty but also for its therapeutic value: if well looked after, the plant exudes happiness. Excited by her discovery, Alice brings the plant home to her teenage son, Joe. As it grows, so does Alice’s suspicion that her new creation is not as harmless as its nickname suggests. An unsettling modern fairytale. 



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