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Books of my childhood

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My birthday tree
Jean-Claude Carrière Film-maker
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There was a tradition in my village which was to plant a tree when a child was born. Each child got a ‘twin tree’, born on the same day, or at least planted on the same day as their birth. My dad planted a walnut tree on the day of my birth, but he was in a hurry, it was right in the middle of the harvest and he had to go to work, so he planted it in a field that was no good for the tree, it was too dry. I really struggled with it, trying to keep it alive. It survived for 18 years, but then it died, and I couldn’t do anything to save it.  It just so happened that I have had two daughters, so I planted two trees, one for each, and they are doing fine. A walnut tree, but in the right field, and an almond tree for my second daughter. And both trees are doing fine and produce fruit.

Il y avait une tradition dans le village, c’était de planter un arbre quand l’enfant naissait. C’est-à-dire chaque enfant avait son arbre jumeau pour ainsi dire qui était né le même jour que lui, en tout cas qui avait était planté ce jour-là.Et mon père a planté un noyer le jour de ma naissance mais il était très pressé, c’était en pleine vendange il devait aller travailler, il a planté ce noyer dans un terrain très peu propice à un noyer, un terrain trop sec. J’ai eu beaucoup de mal avec ce noyer par la suite à le maintenir en vie. Il a vécu 18 ans mais il est mort hélas et je n’ai rien pu faire pour le sauver. Il se trouve que j’ai eu par la suite deux filles et que j’ai planté deux arbres, un pour chacune de mes filles et qui eux se portent très bien, un autre noyer mais dans un terrain propice, et un amandier pour ma seconde fille, et les deux arbres qui vont très bien et nous donnent des fruits.

French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière began his association with films aged 24 when he was selected by Jacques Tati to write for him. This early experience led to further contact with other film-makers, including Luis Buñuel with whom Carrière collaborated for many years. He has written screenplays for films including 'Belle de Jour', 'The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie', 'Tin Drum' and 'Danton'.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Planting, trees, walnut, almond, tradition

Duration: 58 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2010

Date story went live: 26 July 2010