Wangechi Ngugi March 23 2021

Cinematic Expressions of Regeneration


The ability of all organisms both micro and macro to bring forth new life takes many forms from the remodelling of tissues by plants, growing new skin over an injury, to new societal beginnings. 

We are surrounded by systems that regenerate on their own including in our own bodies. The process of regeneration remains unnoticed in everyday life yet it remains present in the imagination and is expressed through films, books, technological inventions as well as remodelling of the environment through human activity.

Labocine’s March issue takes us on a journey in regeneration exploring the different cinematic forms, ideas and understanding of birthing, rebirthing and new beginnings through cinema. In this spotlight, we will highlight some of the films from this current issue no. 56.

In the short documentary film Butte’s Berkeley Pit: New Life Emerges from its Toxic Waters, a woman’s voice laid over innocuous country music describes the history of the bizarre vestige of rapid industrialization in Butte, Montana. This short interactive documentary explores the microscopic biological life growing in the toxic waters of an abandoned pit mine in Butte, Montana and the evolution of these lifeforms into compounds that can be used as human medicine in the fighting of cancer and inflammation.

Butte’s Berkeley Pit: New Life Emerges from its Toxic Waters


Featuring ten visionary, international filmmakers and stories from the most influential scientists, Mosaic is a dissection of hybrid identity in ten chapters exploring the deliberate and random modifications of an organism. In Jeannette Louie’s Realm of An Inner Child one of the ten films featured in Mosaic, a woman experiences the persistent loss of her child who died in utero many years earlier.  Her sadness is eased by the knowledge of their molecular bond as the child's fetal cells were absorbed by her body and a microchimera was created.  During a brief interlude, they share a discourse that reveals their enduring physiological attachment. 



Travelling through the seas among the playful fish and jellyfish, a man slowly realizes that his surroundings are changing into a darker and bleaker environment. Life is quickly seeping away and only one of his companions is left among the ruins. This short animated film from Egypt takes us on a journey on loneliness and what it means to recreate life.


About the Author

Wangechi Ngugi is an award-winning film producer (Best of Africa and the African Diaspora) and programmer at Labocine. Using the art of storytelling through films, her work raises awareness around global humanitarian issues. Wangechi collaborates with African artists to explore and define different styles and techniques of telling stories through digital media.

Wangechi works for a future where Africa's creative storytelling is shaping the identity of its people.