Becoming Animal

Pulse Doc Society Genesis


Emma Davie & Peter Mettler


Development support


Many of us say we want to feel more “connected” with the natural world, but what does this really mean? Becoming Animal is a sensuous exploration into our animal being.

Together with cult philosopher and writer David Abram, we travel to the Gran Teton National Park in America to explore what has made our sensory relationship with what he calls the “more than human” world, change. Facing an unprecedented loss of species and features in a natural world which we assumed would be a constant presence in our lives, the question arises: how did such a disconnect happen?

Becoming Animal is structured as a walk through the Gran Teton Park. There are vast skies, pink mountains, and rocks that contain microcosmic universes if we pause to gaze at them. The park is a protected wilderness where a strange mix of conflicting realities co-exist. One of the American continent’s most intact eco-systems, it is home to wild bison, moose, grizzly bears, elk, and a rich mix of wildlife. It is also, at certain times of the year, full of our own species: a trail of curious itinerant humans, who travel through highways in RVs intent on recording all they see as a response to the natural wonders.

Their presence and these juxtapositions prompt a reflection on the current human condition in relation to the environment. What is this thing we call nature? Why have we created a separation with “it”? What are the limits of our perception of it? What are we looking for in our encounters with it? These questions are at the core of this film and are explored through the camera’s encounter with David Abram’s words and the rich world of the Gran Teton Park with its mingled realities of wilderness, creatures, and human visitors.