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Tout rien (1980)

7.1
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An illustration of beings in a world where countless plant and animal species rapidly become extinct, and resources run dry due to greed. However, it is possible to avoid disaster by conserving and sharing what we have.

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An illustration of beings in a world where countless plant and animal species rapidly become extinct, and resources run dry due to greed. However, it is possible to avoid disaster by conserving and sharing what we have.

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Animation | Short

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23 June 1988 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

All Nothing  »

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Mankind's place in the world
1 May 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Frédéric Back is an award-winning, German-born Canadian animator. Though his list of film credentials is surprisingly short, he has made up for a lack of quantity with a string of remarkable animated short films. Four of his works have been nominated for an Academy Award, and two of these bids were proved successful ('Crac (1982)' and the highly-acclaimed 'L' Homme qui plantait des arbres / The Man Who Planted Trees (1987)'). Back's first Oscar-nominated effort, 'Tout rien / All Nothing' of 1980 is a remarkably artistic Creationistic interpretation of the creation of the the world, and of Mankind's place within it.

Curiously enough, Back seems to have incorporated a concept of evolution into the Creator-driven development of life of Earth. First He creates the animals – each species appearing to spring forth from another – and then He makes them noble and beautiful. The underlying hint of evolution is most evident in the creation of humans, who first arrive into the world as bald and purposeless beings. The thoughtful Creator attempts to adapt them to a life in the oceans, but He later deems this to be a bad decision, instead turning them into hairy apes. When the humans begins to get fleas, the Creator decides to turn them into birds, and they (for a short time, at least) soar joyfully over the magnificent landscape. When their large size proves unsuitable for building a nest on a frail tree branch, the Creator finally gives up on the humans, reverting them back to plain, uncolourful human beings.

Angry and frustrated at being neglected by their God, the two people embark on something of a rampage, killing the Creator's stunningly beautiful birds and beasts so that they may wear their victims' attire and be beautiful themselves. This nasty habit continues over generations, with the ancestors of our Adam and Eve persisting with their raping of the natural countryside, felling entire forests, slaughtering innocent mammals, shooting flocks of birds from the sky, netting entire oceans of aquatic life. In the process, Mankind in all his fury manages to kill the God himself, the Creator's eye pierced by an arrow.

Even with all of his "progress," Mankind is still left feeling empty and unfulfilled, and we revert back to our original Adam and Eve, who now sit alone in an arid, empty landscape, pleading for their Creator once more. In an attempt at redemption, the two humans begin to reverse the damage that they have caused, releasing the captured animals and allowing life to thrive once more. There is, indeed, still hope for the human race, despite the destruction that we have already inflicted. And Frédéric Back just tells it so beautifully!


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