ENVIRONMENT: Peter Mettler is known for his intuitive and experimental film making. The new film Becoming Animal has also an ecological and philosophical depth, as it involves the Canadian philosopher David Abram.
Truls Lie
Editor-in-chief, Modern Times Review
Published date: November 11, 2018

Modern Times Review met the Canadian director Peter Mettler to discuss his line of directing as a continuation of his previous films:

«This film was actually not my idea. It was actually Scottish film director Emma Davie who proposed it. She found philosopher David Abram and then picked me to direct it together with her.»

Davie and Mettler have a longer companionship in filmmaking:

«A lot of my collaborators, producers and good friends are women. Emma was also an actor in my film Tectonic Plates (1992) – where she played a psychiatrist. She came from theatre and then went on to documentary. She was very impressed by David’s books. We actually met him in a workshop seminar, where she proposed to make this film.»

Abram is known for his ecological books The Spell of the Sensuous (1997), and later Becoming Animal (2011), which has the same title as Mettler‘s and Davie‘s new film: «David is a beautiful writer that goes on for pages and pages.»

Abram taught in Europe; at the University of Oslo in 2014 as part of the Arne Næss Programme on Global Justice and the Environment. He is also known for defining the academic field «ecopsychology»:

«We wanted to embody the ideas David was addressing, and add some of our ideas about what it means to record images of nature,» Mettler says.

Ecology and nature

What then, are the ecological insights in the film really about – animals or trees? Mettler explains what Abram means by the somehow strange expression – that the natures also «sees us»: «Reciprocity is the word David uses, the feeling that you look at the forest and it looks back at you, as you are the part of the same thing. It is about being present in the environment – whether it is a forest or a concrete parking lot.»

It seems like Mettler, Davie …

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