The Sound Of Silence: "Interactions — When Cinema Looks To Nature" review

English Daily #3
Interactions — When Cinema Looks To Nature (2022) / Yerevan Premieres
Faouzi Bensaidi, Clemente Bicocchi, Anne de Carbuccia, Takumã Kuikuro, Oskar Metsavaht, Eric Nazarian, Bettina Oberli, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Yulene Olaizola, Ruben Imaz, Nila Madhab Panda, Janis Rafa, Isabella Rosellini, Andy Byers
15.07 18:00 Cinema House, Malyan Hall

A graceful jaguar sneaks along the bank of a river and then almost dies in the blaze of a terrible forest fire. In an Indian village, people discuss the possibility of new elephant attacks. On a film set in the Moroccan desert, a horse is forced to gallop to exhaustion. And on the Japanese island of Yakushima, a woman wearing headphones listens to the sounds of the forest around her. How are these people and places connected?

A mission statement of Interactions - When Cinema Looks To Nature is to provoke a debate about the consequences of human presence in nature, but the intention of the project, which brings together 14 filmmakers from different parts of the world (including celebrities like Isabella Rossellini), is clearly much more ambitious. "You can't explain life, you can only understand it," says the son of a fisherman from Rio de Janeiro, recalling his father's words and echoing the underlying philosophy of this film. The main thing that unites it, is a challenge to the idea that humankind is the superior creature on this planet. Rather, if we don’t learn to listen to scientists, soon there will be no fish left in the ocean and no animals prowling the forests. Harmonious coexistence of humans and animals can still be possible in the age of the anthropocene, but for this people desperately need to start thinking about the consequences of their actions. All of this might seem like an old and banal truthism, but it’s never superfluous to keep reiterating it.

Fortunately, this film is not reduced to slogans about saving the environment, as what’s being shown is of greater importance than what is being told. Fascinating underwater shots, large-scale panoramas of mountains and deserts, and camera flashes over a green sea of trees conjure a philosophical meditation, not unlike the grand cinema of Terrence Malick. Especially some of the works in this film anthology achieve true cinematic purity, when a static frame and a ringing silence no longer need any music, but simply speak for themselves. It is in these pockets of silence and contemplation that Interactions invites an audience to rethink the relationship between men and nature, and to uncover some hidden meanings about life itself.