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Homo Sapiens

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Switzerland, Germany, Austria · 2016
1h 34m
Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Genre Documentary

The images could be taken from a science fiction film set on planet Earth after it’s become uninhabitable. Abandoned buildings – housing estates, shops, cinemas, hospitals, offices, schools, a library, amusement parks and prisons. Birds circle in the dome of a decommissioned reactor, a gust of wind makes window blinds clatter or scraps of paper float around, the noise of the rain: sounds entirely without words, plenty of room for contemplation. All these locations carry the traces of erstwhile human existence and bear witness to a civilization that brought forth architecture, art, the entertainment industry, technologies, ideologies, wars and environmental disasters.

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Village Voice by

Instead of uncovering artifacts from long ago, Homo Sapiens shows us our own relics in the making.


The A.V. Club by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

The fact that movies are a technology of motion makes them uniquely suited to capturing stillness; Geyrhalter takes full advantage, using vivid sound design and his own eye for striking static compositions to create haunting tableaux.


The Hollywood Reporter by Jordan Mintzer

Similar in form to the director’s previous nonfiction studies (Our Daily Bread, Over the Years), this wordless assemblage of fixed shots is as much a museum piece as it is a strictly art-house item, inviting viewers to sit back and let the imagery consume them.

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