Homo Sapiens (12A)

Homo Sapiens (12A)

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Picturehouse, Liverpool
4th April 2017

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is an extraordinary film. Throughout its 94 minute span there is no presence of humans and no sound of cars or planes. The only sounds you hear is those of nature, including wind, sea waves crashing against rocks, birdsong and the hum of bees. Sheer delight.

Austrian film director Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s aim in creating the film is the possibility of a near-future world in which humans have vanished from the planet.

There isn’t even a voiceover, which Geyrhalter believes leads to the viewer stepping into the role of a visiting intelligence, differentiating between species of spaces and assessing the cumulative damage with each new disarranged tableau.

He directs his motionless camera onto depopulated contemporary desolate and abandoned buildings, including a shopping mall, swimming pools, railway stations, apartment buildings, the interior of a theatre, medical offices, seaside amusement parks. In regard to the latter one of the most arresting images was of a former Helter Skelter construct. Abstract, abstract, abstract….

A number of the images, composed of lingering static shots, were filmed in Nagasaki and Fukushima in Japan.

The sound of wind, almost ambient in tone, within and outside buildings, is ever-present, creating an eerie atmosphere, adding to the otherworldly aspect.

Homo Sapiens was part of the Discover Tuesday film strand at Picturehouse.

Forthcoming films to be shown under this title include ‘The Olive Tree (11 April); ‘Kenneth Anger Films’ (18 April); ‘TED Cinema Experience: Opening Event’ (25 April); ‘Those Who Jump (2 May); Neruda (9 May); and ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ 16 May). They all start at 6pm.

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