Edward Shepard October 26 2016

6 Beautiful Short Science Films About Nature and Humanity


The 2016 US presidential election rages on, driven by unprecedented animus and personal attacks. Meanwhile, issues of science and nature are ignored or wildly distorted.

From climate change to the accelerating role of AI and automation, an understanding of science and an appreciation of nature has never been more vital to the well-being of our species. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Cinema is a medium of light, and it can illuminate our world. 

Here are six films from the science new wave that investigate, document, and interpret our relationship with nature.

They show both what's at stake and how we can preserve it. 

The Chemical House →

This French film by Anne-laure Languille and Eric Gayer is about “the chemical house” — a watchful eye of the protection of our planet focussing on the study of the rivers. 

Tramuntana →

This 2013 Spanish experimental documentary directed by César Pesquera transports us to a Catalonian fishing village (north of Spain) to discuss the wind with its inhabitants and explore the land's complex geology. Ethereal expositional footage and surrealist imagery put humanity in place with nature. 

Snapshot Mon Amour →

This lovely 2015 documentary directed by Christian Bau (with Andrew Bird and Masami Sato) explores “Genpatsu-Rikon,” which means “atom” and “divorce” in the shadow of Fukushima

La Boheme: A Portrait of Our Oceans in Peril →

This operatic music video by Mara G. Haseltine & Alexis Gambis depicts a poor young poet Rodolfo, who falls in love with Mimi, a young grisette who is dying of consumption. In this case, Mimi is the plankton sculpture ensnared in plastic - a representation of our ailing oceans. 

Coral Bleaching →

This 2015 animated film directed by Fabian de Kok-Mercado shows why and how corals are threatened by rising ocean temperatures, and why they bleach white after they die (which they are in massive numbers).

Brutal Order →

This 2013 German experimental film from director Christian Fuß portrays a forest rest… but the horror marches closer. See how a harvester "butchers" trees immediately.