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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Becoming Animal
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Becoming Animal
Becoming Animal
Becoming Animal
Becoming Animal

Becoming Animal

director: Peter Mettler, Emma Davie
original title: Becoming Animal
country: Switzerland, United Kingdom
year: 2018
running time: 78 min.

synopsis

This philosophical film-essay explores the relationship between man and nature through long scenes of the mountainous landscape of the American West. A quiet meditation on the imperfect perception of reality, the search for the meaning of life, and finding harmony in the world around us, accompanied by a voiceover of the filmmakers’ views and philosophical commentary. 

biography

Emma Davie (1965) is a Scottish director and university lecturer in Edinburgh. Swiss-Canadian director and documentarian Peter Mettler (1958) works primarily with experimental narratives in film. 

more about film

director: Peter Mettler, Emma Davie
cast: David Abram
producer: Cornelia Seitler, Rebecca Day, Sonja Henrici, Brigitte Hofer
script: Emma Davie, Peter Mettler
photography: Peter Mettler, Jordan Kawai
editing: Peter Mettler
sound: Jacques Kieffer, Peter Bräker, Peter Mettler

other films in the section

To the Unknown
The flora and fauna of Madagascar fascinate scientists from all over the world. Some spend their entire lives exploring the island. This visually captivating documentary follows several researchers during their work in the inhospitable conditions of the rainforest. A film reflection on the enthusiasm and patience of individuals hungry for the discovery of the unknown. 

To the Unknown

Liinu Grönlund
Finland / 2017 / 30 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Empty Cages
This short film with a clear moral message looks at the illegal activities of the activist group known as Empty Cages, which liberates animals from inhuman living conditions at large factory farms. The filmmaker compares the activists’ viewpoint with the opinions of the people around them and encourages us to consider what value society places on the lives of animals.

Empty Cages

Teresia Fant
Norway, Sweden / 2017 / 36 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
East European Premiere
The Dispossessed
The camera’s steadfast gaze carefully follows the toil of small-scale farmers across the globe and records speeches by representatives of food conglomerates and supporters of sustainable development. The documentary essay uncovers the pyramid of an agriculture industry interested only in profit, with no regard for the nutritional needs of man and the soil.

The Dispossessed

Mathieu Roy
Switzerland, Canada / 2017 / 182 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
World Premiere
Into the Okavango
This travel documentary chronicles a four-month scientific expedition to study the mysterious Okavango riverscape. This film about a journey that brings together scientists and the local population offers magical shots of unexplored nature as well as its animal inhabitants, and brings an environmental message regarding the situation in the surrounding African countries.

Into the Okavango

Neil Gelinas
United States, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa / 2018 / 88 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
East European Premiere
Sea of Shadows
A fierce struggle for the preservation of an ecosystem is taking place in the Gulf of California. A Mexican drug cartel had discovered the so-called “sea cocaine” – a rare fish called totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) that has become the central article of the multi-million-dollar business with the Chinese mafia. To hunt these fish, the criminals use illegal nets, killing other animals, including the smallest whale in the world, the highly endangered vaquita. The dramatic documentary thriller shows the fierce fight of undercover investigators, environmentalists, journalists, and the Mexican Navy in an attempt to save the vaquita from extinction at the last minute. "By illuminating the problem through cinematic storytelling while offering solutions and captivating heroes with a cause, I hope to help save our this ecosystem, which is on the verge of total collapse" R. Ladkani  
personal program

Sea of Shadows

Richard Ladkani
Austria / 2018 / 105 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Nature: All Rights Reserved
The autumn landscape on glass in an office, virtual 3D tropical motifs or static palm trees in a dentist’s waiting room. This original collage of motionless simulations of the outside world, accompanied by an authentic mix of sounds, uses ironic imagery to explore the role of depictions of nature in relaxing the inhabitants of overtechnologised urban centres.

Nature: All Rights Reserved

Sebastian Mulder
Netherlands / 2016 / 21 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
History of Disobedience
An alternative history of Czechoslovakia, this five-part TV series explores the evolution of the environmental movement since the 1950s and how it negotiated its position with the communist regime. This unknown story comes alive through protagonists who were direct participants in the events – and co-authors of the revolution, whether consciously or not.A Testimony on Nature - Out of competition

History of Disobedience

Ivo Bystřičan
Czech Republic / 2017 / 56 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
World Premiere
Wilder than Wilderness
An expedition into the Czech countryside reveals the adventurous stories of plants and animals that take place all around us, and explores fascinating places where nature is returning after being devastated by man. The film, narrated by the filmmaker, captures the true wildness of nature and the course of filming.

Wilder than Wilderness

Marián Polák
Czech Republic / 2017 / 81 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
World Premiere
The Climate Experiment
In 2017, climate change was the theme of all exhibitions by two Swedish artists. The film, which maps their annual tour around the world, combines educational moments with the observation of the common life of both artists. Shots of their installations and objects act as alienating effect that enhances the relevance of the global theme.

The Climate Experiment

Mats Bigert, Lars Bergström
Sweden, China, France, United States, Norway, Morocco / 2018 / 58 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
World Premiere
Acid Forest
The Curonian Spit is a destination for both tourists and cormorants. The camera follows visitors from a bird’s-eye view. Their sensations become part of the place’s biodiversity. The ancient birds are – for now – turning into feared bearers of ruin. This observational document looks upon a spectacular part of the continent, the main attraction of which is its dead forest.

Acid Forest

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė
Lithuania / 2018 / 63 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
East European Premiere
Dusk Chorus - Based on Fragments of Extinction
In his project “Fragments of Extinction”, composer and researcher David Monacchi explores the landscape of the Amazon rainforest using audio recordings. The audiovisual symbiosis of natural still-lifes and three-dimensional audio landscapes makes his calls for preserving local biodiversity all the more believable and urgent.

Dusk Chorus - Based on Fragments of Extinction

Nika Šaravanja, Alessandro D'Emilia
Italy / 2016 / 62 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
The human approach has brought the planet Earth to a borderline called sixth mass extinction by scientists. Along with contemporary philosophies of thinkers such as Timothy Morton, calling for a radical change of the human relationship to the nature, the alarming fact has roused three documentarians to create a film that would be completely different from all the films showing beautiful landscapes and animals and would rather focus on everything that has been destroying this beauty. The suggestive shots of the places from all around the world that are most affected by extractions and industry serve as a proof of human short-sightedness and together with the highly-informative and brooding voice-over, they call for a last-minute change. “Sometimes you need to go up in the sky to convey place, but if you stay up there all the time, you float away from what is meaningful.” E. Burtynsky, J. Baichwal, N. de Pencier   
personal program

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

Nicholas de Pencier, Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky
Canada / 2018 / 87 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
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