7.1/10
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10 user 22 critic

Homo sapiens (2016)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 19 October 2016 (France)
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1:01 | Trailer
Homo Sapiens shows stunning images of forgotten places, buildings we constructed and then left.

Writer:

Nikolaus Geyrhalter (concept)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Storyline

The images could be taken from a science fiction film set on planet Earth after it's become uninhabitable. Abandoned buildings - housing estates, shops, cinemas, hospitals, offices, schools, a library, amusement parks and prisons. Places and areas being reclaimed by nature, such as a moss-covered bar with ferns growing between the stools, a still stocked soft drinks machine now covered with vegetation, an overgrown rubbish dump, or tanks in the forest. Tall grass sprouts from cracks in the asphalt. Birds circle in the dome of a decommissioned reactor, a gust of wind makes window blinds clatter or scraps of paper float around, the noise of the rain: sounds entirely without words, plenty of room for contemplation. All these locations carry the traces of erstwhile human existence and bear witness to a civilisation that brought forth architecture, art, the entertainment industry, technologies, ideologies, wars and environmental disasters. Written by AnonymousB

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Switzerland | Germany | Austria

Language:

None

Release Date:

19 October 2016 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Homo Sapiens See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One scene was shot in former swimming pool "tropicana" , Rotterdam NL. See more »

Connections

References The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Art Installation Masquerading as a Full-Feature Film
15 August 2017 | by bkrauser-81-311064See all my reviews

Homo Sapiens follows in the footsteps of Koyaanisqatsi (1982) and more recently Samsara (2011) in the way of wordless, structure-less documentaries that evoke feeling through montage. Yet the mode in which Homo Sapiens assembles itself is about where the similarities end. Samsara went through great pains to capture some of the most beautiful images ever while Homo Sapiens is very much concerned with tableaux of decay and putridity.

The images are eerily, hauntingly, strikingly beautiful. Not a single human is in frame; remnants of civilization are ever present but always in the process of being reclaimed by the earth. There are fast food restaurants fallen in disrepair, abandoned office buildings, leaky subways stations and cracked concrete as far as the eye can see. The images recall the staid, defiant sculpture works of Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson in the way they are presented.

Homo Sapiens however detracts from its themes and crosses a line of good taste when it captures static frames of Fukushima amid a jumble of other images. The finiteness and fragility of human life does feel more visceral when these images come about but they feel a lot less real as well. To put it in certain terms, it feels like watching a superhero movie whereby the villain wins. The world changes thanks to a sudden and irreparable change masterminded by a singular entity. Whether purposeful or not, Homo Sapiens seems to want to put its post-apocalyptic chips on nuclear fallout.

We as a species now know better. Human civilization is likely not going to be wiped out swiftly by our own hand but in a worst case scenario, peter out in a cloud of good intentions. Not one big mistake but a thousand tiny mistakes made by a collective unconscious that lives for today; tomorrow be damned.

Homo Sapiens not a pleasant film to watch. The sound design doesn't even offer a modernist score a la Phillip Glass but rather bombards us with birds chirping, flies buzzing and wind bellowing against ceiling tiles and paper. And this is despite barely seeing anything but broken glass to justify such loud noise.

Ultimately Homo Sapiens is an art installation masquerading as a full-feature film. A moving photo album that, granted captures some interesting images but in its silence all but announces its themes. It then uses a terrible recent tragedy to mix the proverbial pot. A gambit that most may find fitting but to me, it feels like they're crossing a line.


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