One of those docs that seems to be covering an interesting situation per the description writeups (rich politician in Georgia buys giant/ancient trees and transports them over water for a private garden) but the experience of watching it is something else entirely, no facts given about the unseen owner, the garden only glimpsed at the end. Mostly we see the workers performing tree removal, the townspeople who are affected by this activity, and we hear each of these groups in idle conversation, arguing over what it all means. Visually, the movie likes playing with scale and duration, revealing things gradually, showing the reverse angle of what you’d expect. A holdover from last year’s T/F/ND/NF lineup.
Robert Koehler absolutely raved about this in Cinema Scope:
As in her astonishing debut, The Dazzling Light of Sunset (2016), Jashi’s art is complex, Chekhovian: she allows space for the viewer to realize that everyone has their reasons, to admire the sheer engineering prowess involved in this literal rape of living things from their native soil to suit the whims of an oligarch, and even permits a certain sense of beauty to bleed into the absurdist finale … What courses through every moment of Taming the Garden isn’t anger, which would be the easy way out; instead, Jashi’s movie plays honest witness to the practice of power in the 21st century, where the natural world is being remolded at irrevocable cost.