7.1/10
642
9 user 22 critic

Homo sapiens (2016)

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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 Arthur Christmas (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mind-numbingly dull, yet potentially therapeutic
27 February 2018 | by SGMidenceSee all my reviews

This is perhaps the most austere feature film I have ever seen. Comprised exclusively of static wide and medium-wide shots of abandoned man-made landscapes, these images are presented without commentary, musical accompaniment, or title cards (save a few brief credits at the beginning and end.) After the first few minutes, I knew this viewing experience was going to be a slog, but I pressed on out of a personal commitment to finish any movie I start. (It's only a few hours anyway, right?)

All of that said, I eventually came to develop a certain appreciation for the experience this movie provides (although I can't help but wonder if it didn't involve some version of the placebo effect or whether this might be the film equivalent of John Cage's 4'33".) As someone firmly entrenched within the overstimulated media and technological landscape of the 2010s, it was indeed rather soothing to simply focus my attention on... not much in particular. Certainly skill and craft were required of the filmmakers to select suitable locations, camera placement, and picturesque shots derived therein. The audio deserves particular remark, as the ambiance of each environment is what really sets this apart from, say, a coffee table book of still images. As mentioned, the shots themselves are entirely static, with most containing only the barest traces of movement. Occasionally a small animal will flutter or hop into frame, but the runtime largely consists of empty spaces where people once stood. Given the absence of title cards, it became a banal guessing game to try to recognize where each location might be or what circumstances might have led these environments into such disrepair. I believe a number of shots depict the more famous abandoned locales of the Chernobyl and Fukushima exclusion zones and the Korean DMZ - but again, these are only guesses. I have purposely avoided reading for any further context before writing this review, so I can also only speculate on the filmmakers' intentions or pretensions with this production. The obvious question raised, especially given the glut of post-apocalyptic fiction in recent years, is whether our entire civilization might one day resemble the ruins onscreen; however, given that the various locations have been forsaken at different times and places and for different reasons, it is difficult to discern any larger statement being made. (As one might if the film consisted solely of radioactive towns or failed businesses, etc.)

My middle-of-the-road rating reflects my ambivalence on the question of whether this movie is worth watching or whether, frankly, it's any good. I certainly don't regret watching it, but it's definitely a hard sell. If you're still intrigued after reading this review, I recommend you view it the way I did: alone, in a quiet room, perhaps even in daylight (all of the shots appear to be lit by the sun), and with as few interruptions or distractions as possible. It will almost certainly be an endurance and concentration exercise, but by that token it may also be an opiate for the overstimulated mind.


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