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714 Ratings

Homo sapiens

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Austria, 2016


The images could be taken from a science fiction film set on planet Earth after it’s become uninhabitable. All these locations carry the traces of erstwhile human existence and bear witness to a civilisation that brought forth architecture, art, ideologies, wars and environmental disasters.

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Homo sapiens Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Geyrhalter piques the imagination with images of decay: towns, malls, theaters, and hospitals, all deserted, unnamed, and overrun by foliage and wildlife. The opening shots of rippling water reflected on crumbling mosaics are mysteriously exotic; not until later, in wider shots, can one recognize murals of the former Soviet Union. Through another slow reveal, a Japanese ghost town turns out to be Fukushima. In this feature-length memento mori, humanity is evoked by its absence.
January 05, 2017
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Geyrhalter’s film, while documenting the present world, also seems to be taking place in the aftermath of devastation. It thrums with a sense of absence and the finiteness of humankind.
December 28, 2016
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If we want cinema to look forward, and not merely function as a diagnostic tool for our zeitgeist-focused selves, we must ask it to conceive of contemporary life both beyond the present and with a clear view of the past. Such is Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s achievement in Homo Sapiens, a futuristic-seeming document of dilapidated vistas from across the globe that forgoes time stamps, title cards, and explanations of any sort.
December 09, 2016
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