Eden Log (2007)
A man wakes up deep inside a cave. Suffering amnesia, he has no recollection of how he came to be here or of what happened to the man whose body he finds beside him. Tailed by a mysterious creature, he must continue through this strange and fantastic world. Enclosed, Tolbiac has no other option to reach the surface than to use REZO ZERO, secret observing cells in this cemetery-like abandoned mine. He embarks upon this journey guided by the roots of a plant, leading the way and the main subject of attention of the REZO.
- A quote appears on the screen: "So the Lord God banished him from the garden of Eden to serve the ground from which he had been taken" (Genesis 3:23).
The sound of water dripping, and a man gasping; flashing images are shown of a man waking up in a muddy waterhole in a dark cave. We learn later that his name is Tolbiac (Clovis Cornillac). He stumbles to his feet, half-naked and covered in mud. A flashing flashlight reveals a desiccated body nearby. Tolbiac fixes the flashlight and pulls it from the corpse's grasp. He starts climbing up out of the cave.
He climbs out into an industrial-looking room with fences, lighting and fans. He hears grunting coming from somewhere, and he tries to push open a turnstile gate but to no avail.
A series of recordings start up behind him. A group of young women speak in different languages and he turns to one who says "Welcome". She continues, "Whatever your origins may be, it is here where your arduous journey ends. Sacrificing what is most important to you, your consented efforts make you a natural candidate for citizenship in our society. Eden Log offers you its passport." The recordings end. It is clear that Tolbiac is at the start of the system that new migrant workers must pass through.
Tolbiac goes back to the turnstile gate and pushes past it with effort. He sees a series of illustrations on the wall behind some netting. The show what looks like the root systems of a tree, with people passing beneath it from one chamber to another. In the next illustration the chamber is half filled and feeding the tree roots, then a full chamber points towards happy faces and lastly an elevator system showing people going up to the surface returning wearing body suits.
Tolbiac, still confused and disoriented, wanders into the next room and sees plastic tubes laced around tree roots. He pushes one of the tubes into the roots, it lights up and he hears a piece of machinery activate and the fans start to turn.
He goes back through the turnstile to the female recordings who have started up again. They recite, "...capable of entering into the cycle, Eden Log counts you amongst its own. The contract is fair. It is thanks to your work below that you will be able to construct your paradise above. Look after the plant and it will look after you. After this exchange you will be called to join us. Without any other authority than your own will. Without any other reward than the call of your new life. The call..." The lights and the recordings power down.
Tolbiac finds himself at the plant roots as they are lit from below. He drinks from the water surrounding them, then wanders through the vast room of the tree roots. He pulls a jacket from the rubble and puts it on.
The wind whistles through the underground area, and Tolbiac's breathing is laboured as he pushes forward. He hears something growling ominously in the shadows. He moves on and finds a man trapped in the wall.
The man asks Tolbiac who he is. Tolbiac speaks for the first time and says, "I don't know". The man screams in pain as something tightens within. "Stay away!" he screams, "You will waken it." Tolbiac asks him where they are. The man says he doesn't know how Tolbiac has survived til now, but implores him to get away. Tolbiac asks him how to get out. The man says there is nowhere to go, there is nothing "up there". He says it is all over, and that "I opened everybody's eyes: the whole world will know thanks to me how much we need to pay". He says there is no way out.
The growl returns, and the trapped man says that it is already too late. The end has arrived "the end of the man you were". The man recommends he kill himself quickly rather than face the creature who made the noise. He says there is no escape. "I was the architect of this Log. There is no way out, but don't worry, you won't suffer any more." Tolbiac runs away and passes out.
He wakes up in a tunnel and crawls out into an opaque cube that shuts closed on him. It moves upwards until a motionless human shadow appears in a similar opaque box next to him. He calls out and swings his cube until it crashes to the ground.
We see he is on level -4. He heads towards a laboratory that has been destroyed and finds a technician dead on the ground. He presses some buttons on a control panel and the system grants him access to the scientific data. A recording begins. "Open your level," demands a neutral female voice. "Out of the question!" retorts a male voice. "First tell me what all that means." "Calm down, you're not qualified for security. Just open the RENZO to our surveillance." The male technician says that the protocol is clear: access to the RENZO is reserved only for technicians. We see the technician on the screen and recognise the face of the technician dead on the ground. The Councilwoman's voice warns that the technician's "irresponsible attitude" means he is in breach of his contract because this is an emergency. The technician pleads that "the Plantation" is supposed to be self-managing, and that surveillance should stop at level 0. He says that a war is occurring below. The Councilwoman says "You have no right to prevent workers from returning up there and answering the call." The technician says that it is out of the question that the RENZO be used for repressive ends. He says that if they receive no information about the condition of workers on the surface, no-one will be allowed to use the elevators anymore. He says that if the security tries to enter the lab, he will alert the world above to what is happening below and the fate of the immigrant population of Eden Log. In the recording, security bursts into the room and the technician is presumably killed. The security guard talks to the Councilwoman. She says that the elevators are still blocked on the levels. The guard replies that the plantation is completely chocked up, the workers are in a terminal state and have become feral. "It makes the intruder that much harder to localise". The Councilwoman says that the images are being broadcast throughout the RENZO and that this explains the technicians blocking access. She urges the guard to recover the data from the labs and that the rest is left to his discretion. "Secrecy alone counts...the signals that are broadcast remain a danger for the whole system...the exterior is not yet ready to accept the secret". The guard says that is is impossible to locate the technician on level -3. "His knowledge of the system is a serious handicap." The first guard tells the second guard that they have to find the architect in the plantation below and that nothing must leave the galleries anymore: no signals, no people." The recording ends.
Tolbiac reaches towards a panel upon which the dead technician is resting his hand, and takes out a memory chip. "Memory disconnected," the system advises. Tolbiac removes the technician's hand and replaces it with his own and the system confirms that he does not have access to scientific data.
Tolbiac exits the lab and climbs up a ladder. He walks through a tunnel and hears two guard voices emanating from the tunnels. The name Eden Log appears on the floor as the sand is whisked away by the wind. As they walk past, Tolbiac hides from two guards who are completely covered up, dressed in full gear. The guards are frustrated and say, "I'm so sick and tired of walking around. I'll be so glad when we get our hands on that asshole so we can go back up."
Tolbiac waits for them to pass then explores the industrial looking room they exited from. He sees more illustrations on the walls and a sign saying that he is on Level -3. There are tree roots growing around the lab and a pulley system is triggered. He quickly climbs onto the roof of the room and sees the guards enter below. They are given security access to the system which loads maps for them.They are frustrated and don't understand how their quarry can move through levels without dropping breadcrumbs. "How are we supposed to find a runaway in a maze he designed himself?" It is clear they are still looking for the architect. Tolbiac diverts an evacuation pipe to confuse the guards, allowing him to escape. He runs past a human hybrid creature on a chain who growls at him, and climbs up into a tunnel. The guards set the creature free to chase Tolbiac, but he fights it off.
He emerges onto level -2 and hears a strangely melodious industrial noise reverberating throughout the level. A creature attacks him suddenly. Tolbiac is saved from the creature by a technician in a white suit who blinds them with a blinding light and noise and captures him in a net. When he wakes up, he is inside the rope net.The technician is hanging from the ceiling on some kind of cable. The technician apologises for the music, saying that it is the only thing that seems to calm the creatures down. She says that she doesn't know how much longer "all this" can hold together. She asks if he can understand her, and urges him not to stay too close to the walls. She says that up til that moment she thought she was the only one in that situation and that she had managed fairly well. "If you can't even talk any more, it means your mutation has already begun and I won't be able to keep you, because this is the only place around here that's a little protected." The sounds of the creatures can be heard all around.
She gives him some food, which Tolbiac wolfs down hungrily. She notices that he is wearing a guard's harness. "What's a worker doing with that?" she asks, with concern. She says that she will send him back but before that she will conduct a little experiment. "Let me go," demands Tolbiac. "If you can talk, that means you're not totally lost!" she exclaims.
He asks her where he is and what the cages mean. She says that the people in the system maintained the plantation: harvesting below and collecting above. She says that they are in the plant's RENZO. The plant's maintenance is taken care of by the technicians of the RENZO. Each floor handles a specific job. She says that she is a RENZO's botanist and doesn't understand everything either. He says he needs to get out and she releases him.
The botanist explains further: "The workers, they came up that way. Drawn by the plant I guess. The plant fed them but there was no control and the dose was too strong. That made them rot." She had been hiding, waiting for the creatures' hunger to drive them to kill each other. She can't understand how Tolbiac was able to escape form the plant's effects. Tolbiac looks over at the roots in the lab. The botanist explains that the plant's sap has infinite energetic properties and that they are just at the beginning of being able to exploit all of them.
She asks to run a test on him and says he has nothing to fear. "If you're healthy the plant will try to contaminate you, that will set off the alarm and stop the transfusion." The test begins, the mixture is released, the process begins to reverse, his bloody starts to flow into the plant. "What's happening? It can't be!" she cries. The pant begins to grow rapidly and she aborts the test. "The plant has always been sterile," she says, "Who are you?" Tolbiac convulses on the table.
The creature noises from outside abate, and the botanist realises that the creatures have sensed something. The guards descend upon the lab. The botanist says that they are after her. We hear screams from the guards as they encounter the creatures. The botanist escapes through a hatch in the floor and says she cannot risk taking him with her. Tolbiac hangs from the ceiling in a harness, unable to escape and watches the guards die outside.
A creature enters the room through a hatch. It appears to be able to smell him but cannot see him. He fights the creature and escapes through the hatch in the floor.
Outside, he is surrounded by creatures and tries to fight them off. The creatures leave when Tolbiac starts to tremble. He stumbles into an elevator where he finds the botanist and has visions of the plant breaking through the architect. He screams in agony and his face looks monstrous. It appears as if he is contaminated. He turns to the botanist, kisses her and, in his mind, they make love. In reality he became possessed by the contamination and has actually raped her viciously. He comes back to reality and falls to the floor. He looks over at the botanist weeping in the corner and, horrified, realises what he has done.
The elevator stops and he escapes through a ceiling hatch. He reaches back down for the botanist and says, "It's not me, it's not me. Come on." She is traumatised yet reaches for his hand. They rest and while the botanist sleeps, the world begins to tremble again (Tolbiac is under the effect of the mutation). He sees a creature drinking from the pool in front of them and puts his hand over the botanist's face so that she doesn't shout out. She misinterprets it as a rape attempt and bites his hand. She says that he is not like them and that she doesn't understand anything anymore. Tolbiac opens a valve and a light switches on, illuminating the Eden Log logo. They cross the river and she runs off to find a new elevator. Now they are at -1 level.
Tolbiac enters another lab and finds the corpse of a man. He looks like he has been killed by the roots of the plant. The botanist returns and laments that nothing works anymore. She accesses the recording of the last technician (Sifan Shao), who says that the men digging underground and the plant provided the energy for everyone on the surface. He warns that the plant's "conditioning" was not without risk and that now it was protecting itself from "the workers of the depths". He knew that the mutation had started within him and that he had no other choice but to graft himself onto the plant. He reveals that only the suction of the plant can block the mutation, but that nothing can be done to reverse the phenomenon. He further reveals that "he knows what the society does with its sick", that they never go back down. His recording finishes with the statement that he and the other technicians refuse to maintain the lie of Eden Log.
The creatures are attracted by the light and the noise of the recording and one attacks the botanist. Tolbiac saves the botanist from the creatures, but he's halfway changed himself. Tolbiac uses his newfound ferocity to kill the menacing creature with his bare hands.
They continue to journey upwards, led by the botanist. At a rest stop she says that she remembers when the project first began that it was said just one tree and the exploitation of its roots could power an entire city. "And I believed them," she sighs. The continue on through a system of tunnels and up to a network of catwalks leading to the surface level.
They slowly climb the huge staircase. They are now at level 0. The botanist looks up and sees a cube with a human body inside. She realises that they are connected to the machines. Suddenly creatures appear below, and above there are guards in full gear. She runs back down the stairs and is followed by Tolbiac. They leave the guards to deal with the creatures. Tolbiac angrily commands the botanist not to go back. The botanist shouts back in frustration that he doesn't understand anything: people aren't put into the cubes to cure them. The surface is not powered by the plant, it is powered by the people in the cubes.
She seizes up and screams monstrously. Tolbiac looks on, emotionless and apologises. She realises that she's contaminated as well. The botanist is devastated, and says that it was Tolbiac who contaminated her. She attacks him but she leaves him alive and goes back deep inside the mine again. She throws an Eden Log chip to him as a farewell. Looking at the card, Tolbiac realises that he recognises where he is. The guards attack the creatures and one of them runs after Tolbiac, but he kills him easily.
Tolbiac reaches the control panel in what seems to be the director's office. Using the botanist's authorisation card, Tolbiac watches the recordings. In the first recording of the laboratory on level -2, we see a group of workers followed by the face of the architect, muddied and blurry-eyed. He says, "Have arrived at the plantation. Request contact. It's urgent. Am not receiving you. Sending images. I hope that..." and he is cut off.
A female voice identifies herself as a botanist. She notes that, as it grows, the plant has become more toxic. "The more sap we take out, the more the plant tries to protect itself." She says that warnings sent to Eden Log have not been answered. The architect from level -3 decided to go down into the RENZO to report on findings. "Here is what I have been able to recover from his images," she says. We see the architect speaking manically to the camera and realise that he was the man Tolbiac first stumbled across stuck in the wall. He says that it is his turn, it is calling him and he knows what is in store. The first creature on record appears, and guards appear, fighting all the workers.
The recording ends and Tolbiac loads a new one of the technician on level -4 who declares that he will alert the world above to what is occurring should the guards enter his lab. We realise that we have seen this recording before. The technician says there is no law protecting the immigrant population. We see the technician duck under the table as the guards blast their way into the lab. They speak with the Eden Log representative. One guard relays that the plantation is completely choked up and that the residents are at a terminal stage and have become wild. He says that it is impossible to locate the technician on level -3. "His knowledge of the gallery is a serious handicap," the guard laments. The Eden Log representative commands him to recover the data from the laboratories and that the rest is left up to his discretion. She ends the message by declaring "Secrecy. Secrecy alone counts. The exterior is not yet ready to accept the secret. You remain its guardians."
The first guard turns to his partner who has a bright Y on his chest and tells him that they have a new new mission: control of the laboratories and technicians. The first guard says that it is a cleanup mission. A new recording shows the guards attempting to contact the surface, but the elevator is still stuck and they receive no answer. The first guard is suddenly attacked by his partner (the man with the Y), who has become a mutant.
Tolbiac realises that he was a guard. He uses his hand to access the security archives. The system says, "Welcome, Tolbiac", and a bright Y appears indicating that Tolbiac was, in fact, the first guard's partner who became contaminated and attacked the first guard, killing him.
A new recording shows guard Tolbiac sending an alert. He says that the situation is critical. "Attention all guards, by order of the council, prepare to go down and silence the plantation."
People begin banging on the door saying, "There's someone inside". The system voice declares the task "end of the plantation revolt" is complete. The task "elimination of the Architect" is complete. Just as the new guards arrive, the system calls out the last task. The task "access to the RENZO scientific observation laboratory" is complete.
New guards arrive and greet Tolbiac, giving an order to call up reinforcements. "Mission terminated," says the system.
We see a guard (presumably Tolbiac) suiting up in front of a screen showing an animation of the cycle of the plantation. It is a similar design to the one we saw at the beginning of the movie. A man (presumably a worker) tries to migrate to the city, enters from the surface, passes the turnstile gate, is fed something form the plant to make him grow. He enters a cube, dies, his lifeforce is sent up into the tree and his skeleton moves to the surface and becomes fruit of the tree. The skeleton fruit then pump energy into the city.
We hear a voice saying that the uprising of the plantation workers and the resistance of the plant were unfortunate setbacks and that they are satisfied with the mission. We learn that the plantation is now the model for an entirely new enterprise and the Council demands to regain control of it and reintegrate it into the system.
We see Tolbiac enter an elevator and his colleague says that the team is ready to go down. We hear the Council member congratulate Tolbiac and say that he allowed them to preserve "what is essential", to retain the secret long enough to make them force citizens to admit that they "need courage to impose these solutions on far-away populations".
On level 0, Tolbiac wanders around a dark greenhouse garden and looks up at the people inside cubes hanging from the branches. The Council says that all these immigrant men and women had to rely on hope for what the city was never able to offer them. The Council says, "We need men like you: conscious of the sacrifice and abnegation that is essential to this new world."
It is clear that the immigrants were offered full citizenship in exchange for working in the plantation, but then they were forcefully put inside the cubes to allow the plant to feed on them. The Council says that, sooner or later, people will have to accept that the suffering of some people so that foreign populations could be integrated in order to be able to create a new Eden.
The guard Tolbiac throws off his police gear and is bare-chested once again. "At last," crows the Council, "a return to Eden." "For Everybody," declares Tolbiac, and connects himself to the plant.
The plant resumes growth immediately. It grows so much and so fast that soon it can't be contained within the limits of the greenhouse, breaches the surface, and swiftly creeps across the whole city. All the lights go off in the city.
The noises of the creatures can be heard in the background. Tolbiac looks out over the quiet city with stony determination as dawn breaks and a single tear falls down his face.