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Genesis 2.0

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SWISS FILMS


ISAN: 0000-0004-AEF7-0000-F-0000-0000-T

Sundance 2018 World Cinema Documentary Award for Cinematography
Zürcher Filmpreis 2018
Schweizer Filmpreis 2019 Nomination bester Dokumentarfilm

Genesis 2.0

CH 2018 113'

Director: Christian Frei, Maxim Arbugaev
Script: Christian Frei
Camera: Peter Indergand, Maxim Arbugaev
Sound: Dieter Meyer, Florian Eidenbenz
Editing:: Christian Frei, Thomas Bachmann
Music:: Max Richter, Edward Artemyev
Production:: Christian Frei Filmproduktion GmbH, Christian Frei

Christian Frei, Maxim Arbugaev 2018 113'

On the remote New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean, hunters search for tusks of extinct mammoths. One day, they discover a surprisingly well-preserved mammoth carcass. Resurrecting the woolly mammoth is a first manifestation of the next great technological revolution – genetics. It may well turn our world upside down.

The film observes the harsh and dangerous life of so-called mammoth hunters on the remote New Siberian Islands in the far north of Siberia. The archaic landscape in which these people are looking for the tusks of extinct mammoths looks like primordial earth. There is a kind of gold rush fever in the air, because the prices for this white gold have never been so high. But the thawing permafrost unveils more than just precious ivory. Sometimes the hunters find an almost completely preserved mammoth carcass with fur, liquid blood and muscle tissue on which arctic foxes gnaw.

Such finds are magnets for high-tech Russian and South Korean clone researchers in search of mammoth cells with the greatest possible degree of intact DNA. Their mission could be part of a science-fiction plot. They want to bring the extinct woolly mammoth back to life à la “Jurassic Park”, and resurrect it as a species. And that’s just the beginning. Worldwide, biologists are working on re-inventing life. They want to learn the language of nature and create life following the Lego principle. The goal of synthetic biology is to produce complete artificial biological systems. Man becomes the Creator.

The resurrection of the mammoth is a first track and manifestation of this next great technological revolution. An exercise. A multi-million dollar game. The new technology may well turn the world as we know it completely on its head...and all of this has its origin in the unstoppably thawing permafrost at the extreme edge of Siberia.

In GENESIS 2.0 the prehistoric past and the near future intersect at a most intriguing — and disturbing — juncture.
Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

Though it is a slow burn, the doc is rewarding for the incredible, historic events captured within. A discovery of a whole wooly mammoth is just the beginning; footage that comes later of these genome farms, and a normalization of the cloning process is truly incredible, if not eerie. To bring things back to “Jurassic Park,” one of the scientists even talks about “perfecting God,” as if he were quoting Spielberg’s film. But GENESIS 2.0 prevails by providing a profound sense of time’s expanse: It gives you an idea of how many lifetimes would have had to pass since a wooly mammoth last walked the Earth, while showing a vision of work that will soon no longer be considered science-fiction.
Nick Allen, rogerebert.com

Notes by Christian Frei

GENESIS 2.0 takes the viewer into an unknown and exotic world, one that has little in common with our own daily life. This makes for a great cinematic experience. For a while we have no idea what these men are looking for. We don’t know what drives them or who they are. Slowly we realize that they are in a kind of gold rush. We learn about their dreams, hopes and fears while we see the mundane reality and the struggle for survival.

But once we find our bearings and feel a little more comfortable we are thrown into an even more unknown, even more exotic world. All of a sudden these cloning folks enter the picture. Eventually we learn of their plans with the mammoth. And again we alternate between curiosity and resistance, between wanting to understand and wanting to demonize.