Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Holgut (Liesbeth De Ceulaer, 2021)

Siberian villager Roman and city boy Kymm venture into the vast Yakutian wilderness, hunting for a rare reindeer, while cloning-scientist Semyon hunts for mammoth remains. Their quests drive them far North and eventually down into the melting permafrost. Ancient bones rise up from the ground and wild animals seem to have disappeared. Three Yakutians venture into the vast wilderness on different quests. Villager Roman and city boy Kyym hunt for a rare reindeer while not so far away, scientist Semyon scourges the permafrost for a viable cell of the mammoth, which he needs to clone the extinct animal.

In the midst of an ongoing mass-extinction of fauna and flora, of a Siberian Ivory Rush, and at the dawn of de-extinction, a contemporary myth unfolds. While Roman, Kyym and Semyon close in on their goals, both the frozen earth that they walk on and reality itself melt into another state. Holgut boldly combines elements of fiction and documentary and manoeuvres effortlessly from captivating reality to visual poetry. Down the mammoth-hole, science fiction seems to become reality and reality seems to become myth.

Director's statement: 

Climate change and the 6th mass extinction are upon us: temperatures and water levels are rising, land is crumbling and species are going extinct at a rapid rate. Holgut stems from these tragic events and from the defining human influence lying within. How to survive and grasp this incredibly fast-changing world, one that often seems to be heading for doom? 

We are part of the natural world. When we lose parts of this world, we lose parts of our self. Our stories get punctured, they become incomplete and we can get lost. The mammoth’s tale of extinction reveals a fascinating narrative that unravels over millennia and has an ending still unknown. At the fortnight of the mammoth’s rebirth, I wonder how we will look back at this critical moment hundreds of years from now.

Source/images: Flanders Image