Sheff Doc/Fest Review: Who We Were

An astronaut in space

On Earth at least, human beings are the only sentient lifeforms who spend a large proportion of their lives thinking about the bigger picture. Contemplating those pressing questions around life and death and whether there’s intelligent life out there in the vastness of space. Other animals are probably more concerned about where their next meal is coming from or whether that mammal with the sharp teeth is looking at them in a funny way. Homo Sapiens, or at least the fortunate ones anyway, have largely evolved out of these basic issues.

When great minds think about their own mortality and the infinite nature of the unknown they almost always reach for the stars. Our obsession with visiting other planets began midway through the 20th century and continues unabated. Mars and Jupiter seem the current obsessions but there are many places man has not been, both beneath the oceans and metaphorically. This is the backdrop to Who We Were, the new visual essay from Marc Bauder.

Who We Were follows six people (an astronaut, a Buddhist monk, an economist, a deep sea researcher, a philosopher and a post-humanist thinker) as they tackle the big problems facing our planet today. Along the way they discuss what it means to be human and the impact our species has on the natural world around us. Who We Were is a thoughtful and intelligent documentary which focuses on the future through the eyes of those pushing our known boundaries of knowledge.

Who We Were screens at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

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