Life & Other Cataclysms — October 2018 Issue
Crisis. Entropy. Extinction. This year’s Imagine Science Film Festival takes a hard look at the high stakes for all life on Earth and beyond, and Labocine this month expands and embellishes the conversation with a selection of past and present favorites that take these questions of survival even further. Between nuclear proliferation, species loss and dwindling resources, existence itself is not assured. But for every dystopia, a corresponding utopia may be within reach. It may be a struggle, but the record of all life is that of an eon-spanning fight to stay alive. Join us for tumultuous natural history and startling feats of adaptation, deadly risks and feats of modern medicine, the deaths of stars and the extraordinary paths to SURVIVAL.
A 20 minute documentary which details the experience of Lee, now in his 80s, when the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The film is told through Lee’s eyes as he remembers where he was, and how it affected him afterwards. The film uses archive footage against modern day shots of Hiroshima to show how the city has changed, and recovered from it’s brutal past. The film touches on themes of memory, and loss, and poses the question: how we can move forwards with our lives when we hold such painful memories?
The deterioration of one is the foundation of another one’s life. The world with it’s never-ending interplay of eating and being eaten, takes on new dimensions when the unexpected forces of nature clash with the existing structures of our society. What was believed to be forever, melts away in the course of time. The only constant is change.
In the 1980s, a curious project was proposed by two scientists seeking to send a long-lasting warning to the future: to create a breed of cats that would change colors when they are near a source of dangerous radiation?
Under the imminent threat of Lebanon’s 2015 garbage crisis, Hala, a wild child inside of a woman, is the only one to refuse evacuation, clinging to whatever remains of home.
Shakhbout shares with us the story of the first speaking Arabian Oryx “Mozaik” that changed the course of his life and for that matter the future of humankind.
People deal with nuclear waste problems while focusing on future generations.
In a dystopian future, water is running short. A man has taken to smuggling water to keep it in supply.
The experimental film explores the concept of the future of ageing, increasing life expectancy and life extension. Visually juxtaposing architecture and physical space against interviews with a diverse range of people; from biomedical scientists and evolutionary anthropologists, to the director’s family and friends.
Three individuals live clockwork existences, dictated by a strict regime of medication and the challenging physical reality of living with Parkinson’s. Meanwhile, a team of dedicated scientists in Galway are developing a new medical device, which could potentially halt or even cure the devastating disease. Woven together with observation and animation, the film invites us to witness the story of groundbreaking medical science taking place in Galway and the profound impact this will have on people with Parkinson’s Disease both nationally and worldwide.
Arecibo, the world’s largest radio telescope, is located in Esperanza, Puerto Rico, which is also home to a critically endangered species of parrots. The telescope functions as an ear that is capable of capturing signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. The witty messages from the parrots remain unnoticed.
How far would you go to get what you want? In the near future, Jill is a rare survivor in a world nature tore apart, a woman whose powerful maternal urges are thwarted by a scarcity of men.
In 2025, five rare Palila finches survive in the wild and a woman journeys to Hawaii, the Extinction Capital of the World, to see the last few birds. Through animation and live-action footage, the film explores how a species is preserved by man as it nears extinction by looking at past and present efforts to save Hawaiian birds. Struggle for Existence contemplates Darwin’s theory of natural selection, inevitability of death, and our human instinct to “save nature.” Do we value the animals with whom we share this planet, or is the destruction of a species the natural course of life?
Filmmaker Nicolas Steiner documents the exploits of three homeless people in Las Vegas, a man who lives in a military bunker in the California desert and a woman at a Utah research station that simulates life on Mars.
Model Fifty-One Fifty-Six displays the physical changes of the maker’s heart since being born with the congenital disorder, transposition of the great vessels. This chronicle envisions a convergence of the human and the cyborg, connecting personal vulnerability to 1980s science fiction.
An instant in the universe: a few seconds up in space, a few minutes back down here below for a man, and how much for the plant staring at him… Little by little, these three journeys overlap, fuse with one another and plunge into the heart of matter.
Satoko Ishii, recounts the Hiroshima Bombing devastation as she prepares for her book launch and her granddaughter Reiko honors Satoko’s story through her dance. Letters of poetry fuels Reiko’s own battle with radiation sickness due to the genetic mutation passed down from her grandparents.
Matters of the Heart, a series of six, silent, black-and-white films of operations were shot with a 16mm Bolex film camera in the operating room: Heart, Blood Flow, Stomach, Eye/Hand, Vertebra, Brain.
Soon It Would Be Too Hot takes it’s title from the first line of JG Ballard’s 1962 climate-fiction novel “The Drowned World” which vividly describes a dystopic future Earth where the melted polar ice cap floods the living world.
Bugarach is a tiny village in southern France where everyone lives a quiet life, isolated from the world, until the day that the international media spreads the news that Bugarach is the only place that will allegedly survive doomsday.
Enter into a cybernetic beehive and discover the cyborg bee life within.
Physicists work like miniaturists, sees what is invisible to bare eyes. The film is a meditation on blindness, the blinding light ‘of thousand suns’, the first visual descriptions of the atomic bomb test in Los Alamos, and thereafter in Hiroshima. Scientists, politicians, bureaucrats, soldiers and the victims of the disaster describe how the atom bomb blast light blinded them for few seconds, and gradually they saw the mesmerizing colours. Revolving around the court trial of the physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, the film traces his dilemma of pursuing the first ever atomic test and witnessing the greatest human catastrophe as a spiritual experience. The work compares the archaeological time with the material remains of the disaster.
“They have moved a mountain in three years.”
Mineral reminiscence. Two brothers relive their past as miners through a film that tries to fathom the essence of a chemical element yet concealing many mysteries. The town of Bondons, in the department of Lozere, has suffered, between 1986 and 1989, major changes of its landscape in favor of the mining of several thousand of tons of uranium shale. Oscillating between reality and poetic, Blazing Mounts highlights the uncertain and invisible.
.TV is a found footage essay film: Voicemails left by an anonymous caller from the future guide us to the remote islands of Tuvalu, a place the global media has described as “the first country to disappear due to rising sea levels”. Surrounded by thousands of miles of open water, much of Tuvalu’s revenue comes from its country-code web extension .TV, a popular domain choice among global video-streaming and television industries. The caller describes how heat, digital screens, and distance gave him no choice but to leave his sinking home and escape into cyberspace where rising waters will never reach him.
A bereaved epileptic ditches her pills and follows a mysterious woman to the outskirts of her town, where she slips back into the fearsome yet ecstatic throes of the seizure.
We’re making tea amidst the rubble. The house is feeling fragile. If you yell the walls tremble and let the light in. This skin we’re in is a hand-drawn animated short about domesticity and life in the aftermath of family mental illness.
A man must compile the history of the human race before the destruction of the planet.
In South Africa’s Elandsberg Reserve at the heart of the Western Cape, Dr. Margarita Hofmeyr is dedicated to protecting the geometric tortoise from extinction.
In Guatemala, half the population lives in impoverished rural areas. Their livelihoods depend on growing maize or potatoes, as well as cash crops like sugar, bananas, and coffee — all of which depend on rain. Climate models are predicting higher temperatures and decreased rainfall in Guatemala’s future, making the survival of these communities even more precarious. Using tree-rings, scientists are working to fill in gaps in Guatemala’s climate records in the hopes of mitigating future agricultural and community impacts.
Sugar was the engine of the slave trade that brought millions of Africans to America. Glucose is sweet, marketable, and easy to consume, but its surface satisfaction is a thin coating on the pain of many disenfranchised people.
Labocine is an Imagine Science Films initiative to extend our film programming to a broader and more diverse audience. We have over 2,000 film titles from 200 countries for all ages brought to you by artists, scientists, filmmakers and educators.
By experimenting with cinematic form and style, we are committed to provoking scientific intrigue and understanding, always ensuring compelling and well-founded narratives. Periodically, we release Spotlights online. On the first Tuesday of every month, enjoy our issue selections which complement newsworthy science by proposing a surgically curated online festival. From documentary to fiction to lab footage, we hope to always challenge the way you understand, interpret and appreciate scientific ideas and perspectives.
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