What would happen to the world as we know it if people suddenly vanished? This is the central question Nikolaus Geyrhalter asks in a new work that delivers a philosophically powerful and visually mature statement on the nature of our civilization and the transience of humanity (without ever showing one living person). The prohibited zone surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant dominates the abandoned areas that were once vibrant environments serving life’s spiritual, leisure-time, and educational needs. But today’s derelict urban structures, industrial halls, hospital corridors, and entertainment centers offer none of this. Now the once thriving city, evidence of Homo sapiens’ ingenuity, is yielding to the silent, inconspicuous, yet inexorable power of nature. Comprised of quiet, static shots, the meditative picture provokes our contemplation of the fragility of our civilization, where not even the world’s most dynamic economies are excluded from time’s inevitable verdict. KVIFF
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