In their respective home countries of England and France, students Bella and Vipulan are on the front line of the Fridays for Future movement, demanding political action against climate change.
As their efforts are met with a disproportional response from both governments, their outrage at the blatant disregard for the planet grows. Together with filmmaker and activist Cyril Dion, they embark on a journey to different parts of the world, trying to find the root of the problems. The key is for people to realise that they themselves are part of this organism and that humans, too, are animals.
For anyone who has conducted in-depth research into the impending climate crises, mass extinction or environmental pollution, Animal may not be able to impart any new information, but that is not necessarily the goal of this documentary. Instead, the audience gains an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of the young protagonists. Viewers see their pain as they face the apathy and insensitivity that surrounds them. For instance, when they visit a rabbit farm, they meet a breeder who has evidently stopped viewing the animals as living, sentient beings, this being the only way they can bear profiting off of their deaths.
This piece is a love letter to Generation Z’s passion and compassion. Bella and Vipulan have vital insights as well as the eloquence to voice them. As they join an effort to clean a beach in India – and among the waste they collect children’s toys – Bella calls out the bizarre fact that many individuals often choose to recreate natural things (flowers, fruit) from destructive materials (plastic).
At the European Union’s parliament in Brussels, the two attempt to get lobbyists of the Spanish fishing industry to engage with them. Their failure to get have their voices heard is an allegory for their persistent struggle.
Nevertheless, Animal is also an optimistic film that provides the audience a chance to see what can be achieved when people come together and unite in their goals to save the planet. Costa Rica’s rebuilding of its forests, a development that started in the 1970s, is introduced as a positive example.
Hopefully this feature will find a widespread audience, who will benefit from reevaluating the status of human beings and see how vital it is to integrate with our environment.
Animal does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.