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449. Becoming Animal; movie review

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Title : 449. Becoming Animal; movie review
link : 449. Becoming Animal; movie review

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Cert TBA
68 mins
BBFC advice: TBA

We often forget that we are animals, don't we?
Our care for other species and the planet is often an after-thought, balanced against consumerism.
Therefore, it is welcome that film-makers Peter Mettler and Emma Davie and writer and philosopher David Abram have challenged us to think more about how we should complement them.
With startling images of the natural world, they have set out to "reflect on the very essence of what it means to inhabit our animal bodies."
Thus, there is a camera on a bird swooping over the countryside and much talk about trees being living entities and how humans can relate to them.
Becoming Animal is shot in and around Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming where there a huge diversity of wildlife, evidence of humans from pre-historic times and geology which goes back a billion years.
However, I was disappointed that its narrative was more the language of academics and artists than the common man.
Thus, the film's publicity material relates to "a geyser of provocative ideas and heightened sensations related to the sublime circuitry that connects our ever-shifting surroundings."
Those in contemplative frames of mind may find it alluring but I found that its camera lingers too long and its poetic narrative was too obscure.
For example, when it pores over the body of a snail I was simply left thinking I could see this for real in my own back garden.
And then the film-makers muse intently on the night cry of an elk without really explaining why we should find it more enthralling than the squeals of an urban fox.
Of course, I understand why we should have a greater connection with the natural world but I couldn't help thinking the message is already in the safe hands of the likes of David Attenborough whose messages about plastic have been so powerful in recent times.
In addition, he speaks a language which I understand.
There can be no questioning the good intent and quality of the film work of the makers of becoming Animal. I would, however, be keen to understand their target audience. If it were people as plain as me, they have missed it.

Reasons to watch: A contemplative thought on the relationship between man and earth
Reasons to avoid: It would be too meditative for some

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 6/10

Director quote - Peter Mettler and Emma Davie: "The overall question that motivated us was how we could articulate our changing relationship with the “natural” world, and whether cinema and technology could become a vehicle for waking us up to what is around us. When we are truly in touch with our senses, how different is our relationship to the world? "

The big question - Shouldn't the film-makers have tried to make such an important subject more accessible?

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