Offer another story to that of Eric Zemmour who has managed to “hack” the presidential election with “a manipulative and simplifying story”. This is the challenge that the director Cyril Dion launched in his new documentary Animal. Tracing the metamorphosis of two committed adolescents, the activist wants to push to “enter into resistance” .
The film opens with shocking, hard-hitting images that set an apocalyptic backdrop for our future. Why ?
We wanted the film to take viewers through a whole range of affects, to feel the pain and anger of what we are doing to the living world. But, we also wanted to show other feelings. We wanted to make people feel the wonder in the face of the beauty of the world, the enthusiasm for defending life and finally hope. So we went to meet those who defend this living world to show how humans can preserve this beauty. The goal is also to explain that we must stop believing that man is separated from the rest of the living.
This is what Jane Goodall says in the film: ” we believe ourselves separated from the rest of the natural world and we build a life inside a bubble but we are not separated from the animal kingdom “. We are interdependent on other species and on all ecosystems. We wanted to show how humans can re-embed living things to put us back in our place, that of a species among species. We have met those who are working to make man once again a living among the living.
Is it a message of hope?
Yes ! Hope is a kind of dynamic of life. We must not let ourselves be crushed by a form of pessimism, it is on the contrary the moment to enter into resistance and to build a vast movement. During the Second World War, the resistance fighters did not know the outcome of the war, but they defended a cause that they felt was right.
But how to organize this resistance?
Some activists advise to stop eating meat or to stop flying, without proposing anything else. In fact, they suggest people go through the same story but with a poorer quality of life so it can’t work, it’s not powerful enough. We must get out of the story that we have been sold for decades, that of unlimited growth where we must consume and earn money to be happy.
We must propose another trajectory of meaning. This is what we want to do with Animal. It must be shown that the goal is to carry out life for every human being as best as possible and for all living beings. However, economic growth does not allow this. We therefore need new indicators to measure well-being, health, ecological progress… as economist Eloi Laurent says in the film. If we show that we want to arrive at this scenario, everyone will think about their profession differently. My work becomes an extension of what I can bring to society. The trajectories of society are conditioned by stories that are the basis of economic, political, financial power …
But how to make these stories triumph?
With fiction, cinema: we have to offer another vision of the world. This is also what Zemmour manages to do, to produce a story at the moment. He manages to hack the presidential election thanks to a story: a manipulative, simplifying story, often abject but sufficiently simple and with lines of force that affect people. However, opposite, there is no great story. Or so little … All the more so with the Covid and history repeating itself, people need it more than ever. The first one who will get there, he will involve a lot of people.
Why not run for president to carry this story?
I have no political project! For my part, I prepare fictions, stories of anticipation, with in particular, Emmanuel Bourdieu, one of the writers of the Bureau of legends. I’m working on a series for a platform co-produced with my production company and Capa, but also on an adaptation of Pierre Ducrozet’s novel, “Le grand vertige” (Actes Sud).