Do different animals behave differently in front of camera? Given the chance, what films would they make? When plants grow uncontrollably, is it a source of horror or an amazing opportunity? If rocks could think and feel, what would they say? Where is the border, if indeed there is one, between the natural and the man-made? And how can film, with its set of tools and its specific way of seeing the world, help us to understand the relationship between humans and nature at a time in which this link is increasingly fraught?
The Nature Camera is a film series which gathers recent films in different genres — fiction, documentary, essay, experimental film — from different countries around the world, works with their gaze fixed on the relationship between the human and the non-human. The eight sessions in the series combine short, medium- and feature-length films by emerging artists and by established names, some of whom have devoted their whole career to examining how we relate to the natural world. The works explore a broad variety of questions from new, non-anthropomorphic perspectives, blurring the boundaries established between nature and culture and demonstrating film’s staggering versatility in painting a picture of the natural world surrounding us when animals, minerals and plants take centre stage. Further, listening to nature becomes necessary for comprehending the magnitude of our impact on the planet, with film the perfect medium for such purposes.
Accordingly, the films in this series contain the buzz of insects flying around a bed at night, an elephant trumpeting as it crosses the jungle, the incessant babbling of a stream and the wind that blows on deserted islands; a cinematic submersion in place without leaving the film theatre. They contain a large feline and an alligator ambling around an apartment, observe extinct species or a view of the world through the eyes of animals when they take control of the camera. It is possible to be stunned by plants that open a path through concrete or spread over our flesh, making us reach elated states of contemplation and, at the same time, understand the extent to which survival depends on human technology. We can feel the shaking and quaking of the earth around us, wander around landscapes created by our actions and imagine a time in which rocks are the only things that endure.