Song from the Forest

Documentary, 97min, 2013
Written and directed by Michael Obert

Considered for the Oscars 2016

German Documentary Film Award 2015

IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2013
Song from the Forest—A modern epic between rainforest and skyscrapers
As a young man, the American Louis Sarno heard a song on the radio that gripped his imagination. He followed the mysterious sounds all the way to the Central African rainforest and found their source with the Bayaka Pygmies, a tribe of hunters and gatherers. He never left.

Today, twenty-five years later, Louis Sarno has recorded over 1,000 hours of unique Bayaka music. He is a fully accepted member of the Bayaka society and has a 13 year old son, Samedi. Once, when Samedi was a baby, he became seriously ill and Louis feared for his life. He held his son in his arms through a frightful night and made him a promise: “If you get through this, one day I’ll show you the world I come from.”

Now the time has come to fulfill his promise, and Louis travels with Samedi from the African rainforest to another jungle, one of concrete, glass, and asphalt: New York City. Together, they meet Louis’ family and old friends, including his closest friend from college, Jim Jarmusch.

Carried by the contrasts between rainforest and urban America, with a fascinating soundtrack and peaceful, loving imagery, their stories are interwoven to form a touching portrait of an extraordinary man and his son.

Press Reviews
“Gorgeous Song from the Forest!”
“A striking and gently haunting film”
“Quietly resonant”
“The documentary is more than a portrait, more than a documentary of a friend about a unique man, more than just a matter of the heart.”
“A movie full of poetic intensity”

“Moments of poetry...a quest for something inexplicable, undefined...a documentary worth watching.”
ARD titel thesen temperamente

“A great film that captures ist story through dreamlike images.”

“SONG FROM THE FOREST is a movie, that leaves a big impression in one's mind.”
Bayern 2

“This poetic documentary pays homage to a slower way of life.”

“A documentary with gorgeous pictures, that shows the really important things in life.”

“An exciting, illuminating and now and then sad movie”

“A fascinating meditation on the desire to escape civilization.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Hypnotic images”

“Catchy Songs meet visually stunning scenery.”

“Michael Obert shows the threatened culture of the Bayaka in hypnotic pictures.”

“An unusual story, that tells about the unique destiny of a special man, about the love to the music and about a culture, that isn't as foreign as it seems to be.”

“Michael Obert shows the threatened culture of the Bayaka in hypnotic pictures - brilliant”

“Very powerful... mesmerizing. Makes one shake one’s head in disbelief.”

“A unique documentation of a disappearing culture.”