Original Film Poster
An inspired collaboration between filmmakers Emma Davie (I Am Breathing) and Peter Mettler (The End of Time) and radical writer and philosopher David Abram (The Spell of the Sensuous), Becoming Animal is an urgent and immersive audiovisual quest, forging a path into the places where humans and other animals meet, where we pry open our senses to witness the so-called natural world—which in turn witnesses us, prompting us to reflect on the very essence of what it means to inhabit our animal bodies.
Shot in and around Grand Teton National Park, with its dizzying diversity of wildlife, trails of curious humans in RV’s and billion-year-old geology, the film is a geyser of provocative ideas and heightened sensations related to the sublime circuitry that connects us to our ever-shifting surroundings. A snail’s body becomes an immense landscape as the soundscape immerses us in shivering leaves, rushing rivers and the weird spacey pitch of elk bugling at night. Becoming Animal embraces the sensory tools of cinema to trace how the written word and technology has affected how we see.
Driven by wonder, curiosity and a desire for balance between ecological and technological imperatives, Becoming Animal is an invitation to explore our relationship with this “more than human world” and recognise it for what it is: an exquisitely intricate system in which everything is alive and expressive, humans, animals and landscapes are inextricably interdependent, and there is no such thing as empty space.
After Becoming Animal: Three simple mind-altering exercises
In an era of rapidly intensifying environmental crises, David Abram, the ecologist and philosopher whose ideas are laced throughout the film, Becoming Animal, has argued for a reappraisal of “animism” as a uniquely viable way of experiencing and relating to the more-than-human earth.
Animism was the style of perception common to virtually all of our indigenous ancestors for at least 50,000 years, and it is still practiced by many traditional, indigenous cultures today. The animistic worldview assumes that everything is alive – animals and plants, to be sure, but also mountains, forests, rivers and dry riverbeds. Even the winds and the weather patterns are felt to be active, animate agencies.
Indeed, any presence that we perceive with our senses is felt to be a sensitive and perhaps even sentient being in its own right. Yet each being – whether spider or wolf, oak tree or storm cloud – is assumed to be experiencing the world in its own manner, curiously different from our experience and that of the other beings around it, each encountering the world from its own angle, according to the capacities of its own flesh.
Film is a powerful tool for bringing people together.
Becoming Animal asks us to reconnect with the natural world, activates us to protest and demand change so that we can protect it and keep it safe, or invites us to quietly meditate on the beauty and power of the earth we live in.
We encourage you to organise your own screening, in any venue of your choice and if you are able, make an event of it!
Original Film Poster
Emma Davie, Peter Mettler
Cornelia Seitler, Rebecca Day, Sonja Henrici, Birgit Hofer
Leslie Finlay, Noé Mendelle
Peter Mettler, Emma Davie
Maximage GmbH, SDI Productions Ltd,
Swiss Bundesamt für Kultur, Züricher Filmstiftung, SRF, Creative Scotland, Volkart Foundation, Britdoc/Pulse, Suisseimage
© MMXXI Sonja Henrici Creates Ltd. SC683070