Lujain Ibrahim September 2 2018

Mosaic: A Review


Mosaic is an eleven-chapter series that explores evolution in its natural and artificial forms — the deliberate and random modifications of an organism. As a mixed genre, science-driven anthology film, Mosaic is the first of its kind featuring eleven visionary, international filmmakers and stories from the most influential scientists of our time.” These stories span, encompass, and push the boundaries of our definition of a mosaic by questioning and contemplating its meaning scientifically and socially in our world. Featuring human, animal, fungal, and bacterial mosaics, these stories shine a spotlight on overlooked concepts, give new implications to commonplace ideas, and prove the independent artistic capacity of science. 

Lichen (Sally Warring)

One of the overarching themes of this series is the examination of the definition of a mosaic. What makes a mosaic? Is it granting non-human creatures human qualities? Is it within the species boundary? Or does it cross it? Is it naturally occurring or is it artificially brought about by an external force? Is there a power dynamic in achieving this change? Is it for the better? Or is it for the worse? All of these questions are scattered through these 11 films through their scrutiny of various lifeforms from mosaic lifeforms like the lichens in Lichen to alternative lifeforms like the artificial intelligence in Random Legal Move to genetically modified lifeforms like the Arabian oryxes in Insan. And so, this series is not only attentive to human leads, but also recognizes and regards other organisms’ abilities to lead equally fascinating narratives. It also tells tales of human transformation into other species, like in Caroni, to achieve freedom from unnecessary hindrances and obstacles. However, Mosaic, in addition to life, also explores death and its forms and effects. An example of such exploration is Mi Hermano, an affectionate story of a broken boy learning about butterflies that carry the souls of the dead in Mexico. 

Insan (Alexis Gambis)

The filmmakers and scientists of these films give life to their ambitious storylines through a number of different genres and forms from documentary to fiction to a mash-up of the two. Some of these films induce a great emotional response from viewers by exploring touching topics, like for instance, the topic of motherhood and physical attachment between mothers and their children in The FortressRealm of an inner child, and Mother, A Fairy Tale, as well as primal human emotions of fear and stress in The Mask Task. Whereas other films ponder significant questions to reflect upon existing and potential societal issues. For instance, The Breeder uses juxtaposition to challenge anthropocentrism and morality in the case of humans genetically modifying pets, whereas Orfeo Nel Canale Alimentare uses distinctive animations to expose the collaborative nature of our biochemistry and our consumerist culture.


Mother, A Fairy Tale (Barry J Gibb)

Mosaic incorporates hybridity of thought, identity, biology, and feelings with the help of breathtaking visuals and mesmerizing musical scores. From poems to opera to explanatory voiceovers, the auditory experiences of these films are complex, introspective delights that seep into your brain as you take in the accompanying visuals. The filmmakers and scientists of this series also employ an assortment of color schemes, animations, and influential editing styles like juxtaposition, superimposition, montages, and more to create memorable cinematic experiences for viewers. 

While the release of the last two chapters of Mosaic, Caroni and Mi Hermano, which have gotten into the Toronto International Film Festival and the Woodstock Film Festival respectively, are yet to come, these 9 films have opened up doors of wonder, exploration, and acceptance for us to enter through, ponder, and celebrate the all-encompassing mosaic nature of our world and other worlds around us. 

About the author

Lujain is an undergraduate student studying computer engineering at New York University Abu Dhabi who is particularly invested in engineering applications in the world of biotechnology and biomedicine. She is also interested in exploring science and technology in film as well as the cultural and political significance of cinema

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