What does the animal see when she looks at me? Thinking perhaps begins here, knowing that in the gaze of an animal is an existence that refuses to be conceptualized.
Cinemascoop 2.35, 10 minutes
Dialogue: English and French spoken version L’ animal que donc je suis (Eng. subt.)
Expected release: January 2019
Teaser + viewing copy both English and French will be available December 2018
What does an animal see when she looks back at us? Three animals and a woman are in a closed situation in which they have to deal with each other. The woman in the film operates as a lonely species in this universe in which the animals view, estimate, greet and enter a covenant with her for their own interest. The rules are determined, the story starts here.
The story is told from the individual Point of View of each character, perhaps even more from the Point of Feel of all animals. We do not just look through the eyes of the characters; instead the viewer moves through multiple possible mental lanscapes to experience different perceptions when species meet.
The camera emphasizes this idea of the animal gaze by filming them intently. 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. Based on complex thoughts about our relationship with the animal kingdom, the film tackles this huge subject from an oblique angle.
The world will become a better place if we are able to give up the priority position of man and look around us as a human animal that is capable of meeting other species on foot of equivalence. I see the similarities with the nineteenth-century women’s rights movement and other emancipation movements. Still an ongoing topic.
If you are lucky you will meet an animal that wants to talk to you. If you are even more lucky, you will meet an animal that takes the time and effort to get to know you. To find out what animals want, it is not enough to study them. We have to talk to them. (Meijer, Eva, ‘Animal languages’)
What does the animal see when she looks at me? The film The animal that therefore I am imagines and adapts the question posed in Jacques Derrida’s lecture by the same title L’ animal que donc je suis.
(Bea de Visser)
Erin Hill, performance together with Hertog, Alexandra, Onida
Adri Schrover, camera
Diego van Uden, sound
Hedwig Vervoort, Charles Antoine Chappuis, design costume and additional installation
Bea de Visser, director, editor, producer
This film is financially supported a.o. by Dordrechts Museum, Dienst Kunsten Rotterdam, FondsKwadraat, Anotherfilm