Locarno Film Review: ‘Giraffe’

When visiting zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, we don’t find it strange to come across animals far removed from their native lands: lemurs in the Bronx, penguins in Rome, bonobos in Berlin. In our increasingly globalized society, the same can be said for our fellow humans, who don’t necessarily seem out of place, no matter how diverse their backgrounds — even though moving to another part of one’s own country can still seem foreign.

Anna Sofie Hartmann’s ruminative film “Giraffe” poignantly explores that feeling of place and belonging, together with the evanescence of our impact on those who follow us. It’s a film of big themes on an intimate scale that lovingly acknowledges the unimaginable wealth of stories inside everyone we encounter, while also looking at how we negotiate the place of memory in our lives. Hartmann’s conduit is a young ethnologist cataloging a rural island
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