Review by Sarah Williams
Perhaps the biggest sell of The Wolf House is its radically unhinged animation. It jumps between 2D, 3D, stop-motion, and anything in between as it scraps to follow its story. Rather than feeling messy and tacked together, the end result is a memory book of fairytale horror and reality. It works because the 2D interacts with the 3D, styles melding on screen at the same time to an effect of collaboration of multiple artists coming together to tell a story like it's being retold around a campfire by a group that knows it well.
There is no respite from the horror of this nation, this trapped place in which there has never been a way to flee, and it's a cold reflection of reality. It is the story of a young girl, from Chile's Colonia Dignidad, a German madman, a child predator fanatical with misplaced religious devotion. He has turned this land into a military dictatorship in service of Augusto Pinochet, and she is in danger after coming into trouble for losing three pigs. This last part sounds like the setup to a children's story, some fairytale book read before bedtime. And maybe it does seem to be so from here, as we have three pigs, and we have a house — the wolf house in the woods that our young heroine shelters in, but the broken fairytales of reality are far darker than anything in fiction.
The text grows richer knowing the history of Chile and the events that may parallel the story, but much of that imbued history lesson can be learned from watching it all play out. Would the film play better with the context? Yes, but the learning experience, even though shallower, still plays well for an audience not raised with this knowledge. It's colonial trauma projected onto the life of one young girl, and her youth is only clearer when her story is told through a classic children's tale, and we see the contrast between the typical sheltered childhood, and the fear in her life. The stop motion models are painted, cracking and messy, like a child's experiment come to life. The cobbled together style is eerie, with animation so focused on perfection it's unsettling to see the cracks in these models.
It's not the only recent animated film to tackle raw societal struggles through stop-motion in a powerful manner. Emma De Swaef's This Magnificent Cake! is a soft felt recreation of the horrors of Belgium's imperialist acts. It covers the pain of colonialism in this soft fabric so it's more easily digestible before the subject matter is broken down, while The Wolf House bares the messy underbelly of power struggle early on. This melding of animation is often dark and clashing, the power dynamic clear even within the medium. An exploration of trauma through the myths of childhood, perhaps The Wolf House makes the much needed statement that America has fallen behind on that animation is a medium, not a genre, and the surreality of the tools used to make a film do not have to make it any less raw.
The Wolf House is now streaming in partnership with indie theaters. A list of participating locations can be found here.
Review by Sarah Williams
Time comes with many conditions, but it also bears a potential for change. Sometimes this change comes with progressive attitudes, no longer feeling the need to destroy anything that challenges our worldview, but sometimes this change is forced, a trial to push away some unwanted concept. In the case of Kristine Stolakis's feature documentary, Pray Away, time, for many, is hope that they can change themselves to make the world easier.
So-called reparative therapy has originated in its prominent form within evangelical church groups. It is an attempt to cure one of homosexuality, whether by force of another, or voluntarily. It makes the subject overanalyze their attraction, and blame the world around them for leading them down some sort of "sinful path". This idea only works if it is viewed as a subconscious choice for the participant, and the "ex-gay" graduates of the programs often say they have chosen a new life of normalcy. This is true somewhat, but it isn't that they have made the choice of sexuality, but that of repression.
It’s fairly dense subject matter that’s received quite a few depictions, but few outside the realm of fiction fully dig into why this happens, and what the exact psychological effects are. This one is a little different than others, as we see the supposedly cured “ex-gays” who lead these programs, trying to help others become like them, even if they themselves are still actively repressing their own desires. We hear from the former face of a group called Exodus, Josh Paullk, who admits that even he never changed, and that he lied that he didn’t still have feelings for men. Since leaving the organization, that he says he truly believed had the power of change, he moved to Portland with his male partner.
The subject is handled showing voluntary conversion therapy as what it is: a form of self harm. Whether it comes from societal pressure, religious conviction, or any other fear of one’s same-sex attraction, this process of lying to oneself and the world, and treating a part of the self as a form of evil is incredibly damaging. For some, they panic, and for others, they turn further inwards. Trained self-hatred leaves scars, and these Christian fundamentalist programs are exactly that.
The hardest to watch of the four threads in the documentary is that of Julie Rodgers, who was held up as the teen ex-lesbian face of the movement after being forced into a reparative program at sixteen. Some parts, like enforced adherence to gender roles (girls must wear makeup, sports are too masculine), come off as almost cartoonish for these programs. Then the reality sinks in: these are young teenagers being trained to hate themselves. She says she’ll always remember being a teenager who was told she was a bad kid for having acknowledged part of who she was, and this is where we see just how much these teachings stick — even when those who’ve gone through them have left and denounced them. When we cut to Julie in the present day after meeting her through archival footage, we get to watch her prepare for her marriage to a woman, and we see the happiness that comes with freedom, as well as how the effect never quite leaves.
This afterimage is what sets Pray Away apart. Instead of beating down the misery, it shows that there has always been a future possible for the subjects who had tried to fix something they were told was wrong with them. We see them happily married, or living as themselves, years after what they had been through, and we can see that future instead of lingering on wondering if maybe it could have worked. When we are only shown the misery of conversion, we are led to believe that it is an ending, when it is very much so. Pray Away depicts it as a painful false path, but that there’s always a way back, and that’s when it hits hardest.
Review by Sarah Williams
Before touching upon the rich text of Kantemir Balagov's debut feature Closeness, let's take a moment to touch upon the spectacular knitwear in this movie. There is truly unparalleled sweater quality here. The rest of the film is much less warm and fuzzy, following a Jewish family in the '80s, when their youngest son and his wife disappear. They are held for ransom, an amount high enough to close their business and force them to seek help from the surrounding community in hopes of return.
Stemming from a funding initiative by legendary Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Sukurov, it's an astonishing beginning for such a young filmmaker. It's the start of the weighty themes of fraught family and human connection in last year's Beanpole, only here the story is set within the confines of a strict Jewish community. Closeness has that same intimacy, veering tightly into the lives of its characters to watch their bonds break apart under stress. Strong performances flood the screen, particularly commendable is Darya Zhovner, who takes her heroine, Ila, and her refusal to marry to pay ransom to a higher level. Ila is denied a voice repeatedly, yet she persists, perhaps to see an end to her world surrounded by senseless violence and power struggle.
Iya's tomboyish nature and her realistic consideration of debts owed to family make her an incredibly compelling protagonist, an entry point to an otherwise overbearing world. The film is shot with a warmth despite the coldness of the cruel world depicted, an emotional hotness as the camera lingers upon bodies wrapped in a desperate embrace, or upon the fabric of the characters' clothing as we're given respite from emotionally fraught faces. Color is key, especially in the final moments, though exactly how so would spoil the surprise.
The film has become somewhat notorious for a sequence utilizing real footage of Chechen rebels killing a soldier. This scene is essentially a setup for anti-Semitism of this society to be shown, but it feels irresponsible not to simulate such a small moment. Perhaps the footage is used to create conversation around the film's premiere, but it's distribution overseas has only come a couple years later after the success of Kantemir Balagov's follow-up Beanpole with international audiences. It's a major ethical lapse that detracts from an otherwise strong feature, a head-scratching moment as to why we would need to see a real life ended on-screen, even if the footage had other origins. Kantemir Balagov defends the use of a real hate-killing from an archive, claiming a simulation would not have the same emotional impact (though this impact has resulted in much backlash).
In Russian, the title does not translate directly. It is not a direct "closeness" that this word refers to, but a squeezing, cramped situation, a confinement of sorts. What the film does best is an emotional confinement, never letting the audience leave the headspace. It's a typical arthouse drama that takes the side of emotion over minimalism, something that would later be taken farther with Beanpole. Much of the latter's lingering intimacy, a love broken by the stress of a cold world, and the warmth found in capturing the light that reflects off of these acts is present here in prototype, though more unsure, but certainly no less accomplished.
Closeness is now streaming in partnership with indie theaters.
Review by Sarah Williams
The Dilemma of Desire is an entire movie dedicated to the clitoris. Focusing on the underexposed female organ, it's a story of reclaiming sexuality. Not only do we learn an anatomy lesson, but there's the sociology around it, and an unveiling of why so little is common knowledge. It's an exposé on the suppression of women's sexual health, and it's unsettling to see how commonplace it is. As a long-form news story of sorts, Maria Finitzo's film is a cultural acceptance and reclamation of the clitoris in the purest form. This education is referred to as "cliteracy", a portmanteau for understanding women's bodies. It's a word that seems crude at first, but is no more so than any of the male versions that are commonplace.
It's a shame that for so many important topics, the film feels shallow and unrefined. It shifts between a sex education lecture, a showing of yonic art, and then pivots to how much it's taught in schools. The topics discussed aren't all things that would be learned at the same age, leaving a majority of the film much less useful based on the viewer's age. There is also a largely one issue view taken, meaning the film lacks any discussion on how these facts and access to resources may change based on a woman's sexual orientation, ability, class, or race. This intersectionality makes it harder for any nuance to come with the content.
While the film is jumping around, it does highlight some chilling facts about how little we are taught about our own bodies. “In the USA, only 24 states require some sort of sex education, only 13 require that the information be medically accurate.” Less than half of the country requires anything, and only a quarter mandates that that must be real science taught. It's a scary fact, this misinformation, and it does need to be highlighted. What is taught is largely geared towards and about young boys, leaving the rest in the dark over how anything actually works.
The main issue is the film doesn't quite know its audience. The overt feminist themes that are in the premise, title, and marketing, so the audience is already going to be on its side. Yet the film chooses to start from the beginning, blending the biology and sociology lesson on the clitoris with a primer on feminism these viewers simply don't need. The key parts would be best taken out as a short documentary, more of a grab-and-go format to dispatch and garner awareness of how little we know.
The content of the film is all what needs to be marketed to young women, just not as a whole. Some parts of the film are key to when hitting puberty and discovering the body, while others are for when first becoming sexually active, and these are very different contexts. As an educational work outside of learning these things for the first time, The Dilemma of Desire is a well-presented look at what information is withheld and what the truth is, but it struggles to understand what it wants its audience to be, and how to speak to them.
The Dilemma of Desire was set to debut at the cancelled 2020 SXSW Film Festival. It is currently seeking distribution.
Review by Sarah Williams
Tomboy (no, not the Céline Sciamma film) is a grab-bag of tales of women drummers making their way through a man’s world. Many will be drawn in for the archival footage of Courtney Love and Hole at practice through the eyes of drummer Samantha Maloney, but the other stories are just as compelling. The true breakout is teenager Bo-Pah Sledge, whose pop group formed with her three sisters reveals a charismatic young musician under the radar.
Female masculinity is oft-avoided as a touchy subject, but the film touches upon it well. Aside from the instrument, what these women have in common is a defiance for gender barriers that hold them back. This comes in varying levels, with some women pushing back against femininity in all cases, in the case of Chase Noelle and her band Boytoy, while others are only concerned with the limitations their gender seems to put upon them on getting to play music, and are content with the social roles. One woman talks about using empty toilet paper rolls to pee standing up as a kid, while a young girl has shelves of My Little Pony toys — proof that these women’s experiences and presentations are as varied as the music they made. Industry veteran Bobbye Hall, who has backed up Bob Dylan, as well as many big names in Motown, is less outspoken compared to her younger counterparts, refusing to go in depth as to how hard it had been for her as a black female drummer. This doesn’t make her less of a feminist, just more hardened and weary of the industry.
Neon-glazed concert footage mixed with grainy home video gives the film its punk rock aesthetic. Others have criticized amateur camerawork, but the DIY nature puts it further into the throes of the music world. The sound is layered between clips so that it flows wonderfully, avoiding stretches of silence by blending music, voices, and the dull roar of a basement crowd. The beating of sticks on symbols and drumheads is a constant, and it is this sound that moves the film along. The opening narration talks about how the drummer is the one who always must stay on beat, because they are what holds a song together and can cover mistakes of others, and that is the same for the documentary as well as a song. Director Lindsay Lindenbaum assembles a warm portrait of the women’s lives around the music without going biographical. We hear a hint of "Jingle Bell Rock" on a holiday, or see vinyl records of the music they grew up with, and we feel like we know these women a little better.
Generational growth and connection shows these drummers shared experience, how the ways women move through the music world has changed, and how some parts remain deeply rooted. We see older subjects talk about being the only girl in the music scene when they started, while we meet another young subject who talks about a relationship with a bandmate. There is a startlingly good handle on sexuality and gender, portraying the effects of these on the battle to be heard with nuance, as well as touching upon how race changes the entrance to the music world. It isn’t a perfect intersectional discussion, but a variety of voices (notably by having half the subjects being black women) are brought to the table to show the many experiences. Noelle’s story is handled a little more roughly than the others; she’s the most outspoken in her feminism, and often preaches to the camera, making generalizations that not all the women share. Hall refutes a slightly egoist decry from the younger woman that the drummer has the greatest importance by talking about listening to the other instruments to create the ideal sound.
The feminist leanings are firmer at the start, slowly letting up from direct statements to the point the film is then solely about the music. We hear more of the music women love to create, and can fill the original “women’s fight to be heard” narrative in ourselves. The focus is lost a bit halfway through, and a central thesis is never developed, but it’s a solid, well-rounded view of the music industry that’s incredibly engaging, and a rousing success overall.
Tomboy was set to debut at the cancelled 2020 SXSW Film Festival. It is currently seeking distribution.
Review by Sarah Williams
We Don’t Deserve Dogs is a film whose subject matter lives up to its title. All about the good that comes with our canine furry friends, different scales of four-legged kindness are shown. With production travelling eleven countries in just thirteen months, the documentary is an impressive bit of filmmaking with just a two person team (who also happen to be a married couple), director and cinematographer Matthew Salleh, and Rose Tucker as both producer and editor.
2020 seems to be the year of nonfiction and quasi-documentaries about dogs. The festival slate has had plenty about sick and injured dogs this year, so it's a breath of fresh air to see them featured in something more positive. This episode in the domestic dog saga is so filled with love and reverence it’ll surely find an audience, the kind of late night comfort food you put on after a bad day at work.
A world tour of dog stories, We Don’t Deserve Dogs has many stamps on its passport. We see how pet dogs help child soldiers in Uganda, the passersby of a pub in Scotland, and hear the story of a dog walker on the streets of Istanbul. There’s working dogs too, some that hunt for truffle mushrooms, some that stand watch, and some that are just there to guide. There’s some love that transcends culture, and that same love transcends species in the ways of the dog.
Not all of the stories are as cleanly shown, and everyone will probably have a least favorite segment, but it jumps around so much you’ll always have something better coming up. Of course, these jumps across the globe do feel a bit disjointed, but it’s usually in more of a montage style than messily stitched together. There’s often not much connecting these vignettes other than the shared love of dogs and what they bring us, so it’s not a film for those who aren’t already animal lovers.
The worldwide array of people and their dogs, and the diverse array of meaningful connections and mutually beneficial relationships is a beautiful thing. The score is gentle yet paces the film along, and it’s shot nicely for a smaller documentary, with some great static shots of the countries visited. The camera often gets down on the eye level of the dogs, and they come close to the camera to look it in the eye. It’s hard not to want to be there with them!
We really don’t deserve dogs and what they can do for us. A dog can’t understand everything we say and do, yet they somehow find a way to help anyway. There’s a lot of heart on screen, whether it be from behind the camera, or from the dogs and the people they bring joy to. It’s a lovely interspersing of “hero dog” stories and the mundane roles they take, which prevents it from ever becoming too heavy. We Don’t Deserve Dogs is the feel-good film of a festival that never was.
We Don't Deserve Dogs was set to debut at the cancelled 2020 SXSW Film Festival. It is currently seeking distribution.
Review by Sarah Williams
Freeland is probably the gentlest stoner movie you'll see, and it's deeply rooted in emotion. Devi (Krisha Fairchild) is an aging weed farmer desperate to sell this year’s harvest, which may be her last due to the increasing restrictions that come with legalization. Unlike most films about drugs, it’s serene and unaggressive, instead portraying the ageless counter cultural spirit. A quiet, meditative examination of one woman’s struggle to adapt, it’s a backwoods look at changing times.
The easiest way to describe the film is that it feels like a stoner Kelly Reichardt film. The wilderness compositions are stunning, with a hazy fog rolling in at times, and a beating sun making the treeline glow gold at others. Mario Furloni and Kate McLean’s film is one with the world it is in, and their personal, almost documentary-like style is able to cover a limited story and sparse script. One of the film’s most stunning shots shows Devi popping her head out from underwater in a lake, perhaps reborn into a world she has been trying to avoid for years.
Frequent Trey Edward Shults collaborator Krisha Fairchild is devastating to watch here. Her character, and her soon-to-retire partner (John Craven) are part of an older generation often considered more uptight and conservative about these matters, but she is part of a subset that is the last to be truly free. She didn't have to discover this natural world for herself, she began with it, and has stayed apart from the rules of the world. Losing her farm is an unwelcome force from society, one that begs her to integrate in a world she has never belonged to. For everyone else in the farm, this is a devastating loss of their lifestyles, but for Devi, this has always been her life.
Certain Women breakout Lily Gladstone has a minor role, but is fantastic as usual. She adds a layer of warmth to her alt-hippie character, who is part of Krisha's band fighting against the industrialization of their livelihood. It’s a shame she doesn’t get more screen time, one of the aspects that could have been much more fleshed out in a longer runtime. Freeland is a story of found family beneath Devi's legal struggle. It's a cobbled-together group who've learned to care for each other out in the wilderness. They blend in with their surroundings just as much as the deer darting around the plains, camouflaged because they've learned to trust nature. This unbroken territory is their freedom, and the farm is the tether to the real world that allows them to have it. The eighty-minute runtime is almost completely set within this tight-knit group, a smart decision in limiting the film's scope.
To them, this harvest is what keeps their freedom, and legalization is taking their world away more than it gives them any leeway. Marijuana is one of the most tightly regulated crops in places that allow it to be grown and sold, and the tight-knit clan the film follows is not used to all the legal struggles that come with it. The ever-shifting industry is pushing them out in favor of corporate newcomers, and this strikes Devi heavily.
Issues that may come from making a film about a mainly white group of people in the industry are staved off by showing pre-legalization hippies. They aren't the ones directly coming in to gentrify in cities and sell expensive synthetics, they're just a found family who feel connected to the land, and this plant has been their life long before talk of legalization. They operate in a realm separate from this commercialized drug industry, so they're exempt from most of the discussion.
Opening credits of warm, grainy home movie footage set a precedent for what is to come. This is a film that feels like a family memory, one telling the tale of how their lives changed. Conflict is only at the fore when Devi lets down her guard as she tries to shut it out, and in these moments we are let inside a legal battle to keep their lives. It’s so calm yet grounded in the desire for independence that the short runtime is nowhere near enough. It could reach a full two hours with flowing nature shots and calm gatherings, and fit perfectly into the world of slow cinema as an American entry. The appreciation for the outdoors is one of the strongest points, and drawing this out, along with more time to develop side characters, would make it an absolute knockout of a film.
Freeland was set to debut at the cancelled 2020 SXSW Film Festival. It is currently seeking distribution.
Review by Sarah Williams
International Falls is for everyone dreaming of getting out of their small town. It's about human connection, and finding the right person that comes along to share a moment of similarity. It's a love letter to those hopeless mall towns that feel like they are walked in by something stronger than any physical barrier. Above all, it does this within standard indie festival premiere trappings, a lo-fi method of getting emotions across often skipped in broader stories.
An aspiring comedian finds herself stranded in a small town mid-snowstorm, where she meets a disgruntled veteran of the industry. He is tired of comedy, and wants nothing more than to leave. Their attitudes towards comedy are what divide them most, but their shared ties to that world also bring them together. Dee (Rachael Harris) is middle-aged, and feels trapped by her life as a mother in International Falls, Minnesota. Tim (Matthew Glave) considers himself a burnt-out nobody, and as the two grow closer, he confesses that he is going through a divorce, and is about to lose custody of his son.
Once the confessions start to fall out, the connection is real, and though it is hesitant, a gentle mutual understanding forms. It’s the kind of bond that comes with being in a bad place, and bored with life. The town of International Falls doesn’t have much to offer, and is part of a dying breed of small towns that the residents all want to leave behind, totally unconnected from one another. Cheating is not an obstacle here, as this is a bubble within their lives that will not leave the shared experience in this small town.
So many stories of one night stands are about a one night stand gone wrong, but this is a one night stand gone right. This one night stand ends in a passing of advice between the overly hopeful and the overly hopeless, and they end up finding the sweet spot somewhere in the middle. It continues on after the one night unlike usual, but the relationship shifts enough that that one night is its own entity. Tim and Dee find momentary comfort in each other, and confessions spill out. That night’s comedy show will be Tim’s last.
The international aspect mentioned in the title is barely so. From the town, a bit of an industrial part of Canada is visible across the waters. There is no waterfall to speak of. The name of this small town perfectly exemplifies that village mindset. It over-exaggerates any ties to the outside world, hinging on the tiny hopeful view of Canada for purpose.
International Falls is a nice, easy to follow indie flick that’s nothing to write home about, but solid entertainment. It's a simple two people coming together story to put on without having to think too hard, and it’s fairly engaging. The script balances comedy with heart, has dialogue that grows touchingly poignant, and features characters we actually care for. It is hard to make a comedy about the world of comedy, but instead of forced laughs, tender reality is the focus, and the humor comes from the mundane instead of the forced. It's not perfect, nor does it elevate the basic storyline and form much, but it's simple, sweet entertainment that does its job well.
International Falls is now available on VOD.
Review by Sarah Williams
By Day's End brings its pandemic horror at the most incidental of times. As the world is in a socio-political nightmare due to a raging bout of disease, a zombie apocalypse brought by disease rages on in this new VOD release. It's just as exhausting as real life, but still very much within the tropes of the typical zombie movie.
Carly (Lindsay Lantz) and Rina (Andrea Nelson) are a lesbian couple on the verge of a breakup. Carly drops out of med school, and Rina loses her job as an attorney almost simultaneously, and the strain of their changing lives breaks down their relationship. A pandemic disease ravages their city, and the people around them are turned into flesh eating monsters. Suddenly their personal tensions are the least of their problems, and they band together to fight for their lives.
For found footage, it’s often tricky to justify the use of the medium. Here, that at least is well introduced, with Carly saving up to purchase a new camera to pursue a career in videography. Her career hopes make filming their experience as practice reasonable, so at least it is a plot device instead of purely a gimmick.
It’s a different kind of breakup film, one that alleviates the breakup. The couple pledges to repair their relationship even as they know it’s falling apart, but not even they can fully believe in their own words.
Lindsey Lantz and Andrea Nelson give good performances in this end of the world film, but ultimately the film’s small budget is its downfall. It often looks cheap outside some clever lighting choices, and the sound is a dead giveaway of its small indie status. The movie attempts to hide the poor quality of the shots by framing it as found footage and bathing everything in lime green, but it is so poorly framed anyway that this hardly remedies the problem. It’s hard to watch a film that feels so unprofessional, and while budget should be thought of when critiquing, it just feels like lazy, messy filmmaking.
It also is not quite the lesbian horror film we’ve all been waiting for, with a relationship that feels so inauthentically written it’s hard to believe in the love at the core of the film. Michael Souder and Justin Calen-Chenn write from an inauthentic place and it shows. The dead lesbian trope is one that lies everywhere, not just the horror genre, where the gay women are always first to die. This is not broken, nor is any work done to make the trope subversive. The way it is followed is a particularly egregious breach of trust with the audience, but we won’t spoil the precise circumstances.
The search for a good lesbian zombie movie must continue. The idea is good here, with bonding over the shared traumatic experience of a zombie apocalypse and falling in love again, but it’s so poorly executed and written it’s hardly likable. It sets itself up to be something different, yet is a painfully generic and grating iteration of “lesbian couple brutally attacked by monsters”. As a lesbian horror lover, it’s disappointing to see us represented like this again and again.
By Day's End is now available on VOD.
Review by Sarah Williams
Human Nature asks the hard questions about our changing world without ever really answering them. CRISPR technology has the power to rewrite our DNA, and to change the course of how we are immersed in nature. Once we can edit what occurs in the world, nature no longer has a fighting chance against us. Humanity has more power than we could have ever imagined. The film has a heavy focus on the scientists behind this technology, and the families that it has been able to change the lives of.
With the fears of change comes some good. The advances in editing our genes can cure and predict disease, as well as change how human evolution occurs. Once we understand our genes we start to make informed decisions based on them, and that's without being able to make any changes. Once change becomes a possibility, we no longer have any barriers preventing selectivity, and as much change as budget allows.
The worry is that this can lead to major ethical issues. Namely, the concern of eugenics takes precedent. The focus is on the positive instead, and makes a strong case for all the reasons we should have this new ability to wield. It's a human impact story packaged within education, meant to calm down the scare of the new technology that can change lives.
Human Nature does help to quell these fears, and is a focus on how we can use these technologies for good. It is a full collaboration between the scientists and the filmmakers, so it has a steady hand in explaining the good that can be done with CRISPR. We see lives changed and made vastly easier, generic conditions avoided because we've advanced to the point to be able to do so. Is it unnatural to do so, or are we simply changing the building blocks that nature has already given us?
It’s a shame the film’s theatrical release has fallen victim to the COVID-19 closings, as with the current Oscars rules, a theatrical qualifying run could be the first step in a chance at nominations. It’s the kind of informative yet still engaging filmmaking that breaks out part of a new story with social relevance that awards bodies love to see. Awards regulations may be changing with the pandemic, and with it, the ability for this film to qualify. It's timely in a moment where science is the largest news story, and it's comforting to see what we've been up to before every scientist in the world has been called up to solve a global crisis.
It’s the start of a broader movement, one where filmmakers come together with new scientific innovations from the start, so that the public can learn what is happening in an engaging manner. Many prefer to watch a video over reading a scientific journal article, and it's reasonable to assume most would. This brings advanced science to living rooms in an easily-digestible way, one where genetic engineering can become whole family viewing. If looking to learn something from home while shut in, Human Nature is a great start.
Human Nature is now available on VOD.