Jacques Derrida began his legendary ten-hour lecture at the 1997 Cerisy Conference by thematizing the moment when he, or a person, is the object of an animal’s gaze, thus taking up a critique of Heidegger’s distinction between humans and animals. “The first third is predominated by internal monologue (grounded in quotes from Derrida’s text) and images of the gazes of four creatures: a person, a dog/wolf, a rabbit and, finally, an eagle. In the second third, a dramatic conflict arises between these animals, one which is informed by a study of their actions. The animals divide themselves into predators and prey; the rabbit becomes the hunted, but the woman saves him by catching the wolf. Subsequently the woman’s actions find expression in playing the guitar: could this represent a search for harmony? Harmony and balance are established in the third part: the eagle is released from the studio; the dog stops chasing the rabbit. And the woman speaks of a new level of mutual acceptance between living creatures.”
Juraj Oniščenko, philosopher
The set-up of your film is certainly striking. (It reminded me a little of Isao Takahata’s Gauche the Cellist, in which a young boy serenades animals with his cello, although that film’s tone is very different!) The room is intriguing—the curios that decorate it sparked my imagination, making me wonder who this woman might be. The desaturation works well, not only in creating a certain icy mood, but also because it brings the colours of the animals and woman closer together, establishing a kind of kinship between them.
As the voiceover narration suggests, the film is premised on the idea that animals observe and judge us, and that we may learn something if we try to act according to their standards.
The camera emphasises this idea of the animal gaze by filming them intently, often in close-up. While I enjoyed studying the animals’ behaviour—the eagle in particular, as it’s quite unfamiliar to me— I saw animals behaving capriciously: running around, suddenly flapping their wings, looking away from the woman.
Your film is certainly stylish, and clearly based on some deep and complex thoughts about our relationship with the animal kingdom. I like the fact that it tackles this huge subject from an oblique angle.
Beautiful, meaningful, humorful!
Only you can make such a film, completely original, never seen anything like it before.
It evokes a lot of associations and thoughts and that is very beautiful.
A threatening atmosphere, an almost nasty animal thriller, hunter and prey, put together and held by a strong character in search of her own animalism / physicality, her own instinct and her identity, and a desire just as sovereign or blank conceptless to be able to see the other being able to be like the animals and the bird of prey that has also been tamed by her again.
Nice role, also that androgynous what she has.
B. van Lieshout