Down To Earth


Reviewed by: Emilia Rolewicz

Down To Earth
"A meaningful look at how life exists in the Amazon and small Kenyan communities, unfettered by technology."

There are many films that question conventions, but Down to Earth is a film which defies them. Rolf Winters’ and Renata Heinen’s documentary captures their move from traditional and successful family life to traversing the world with their three children, who, instead of being in school, learn the wisdom of isolated tribes in far corners of the earth alongside their parents. With no crew and no set expectations, Rolf and Renata’s mission to find the ‘keepers of the Earth’ starts in a Native American settlement where the chief ‘Nowaten’ and other tribal leaders, have parts of their interviews interspersed throughout the film.

The film aims for insight through these settlers and their mostly nebulous philosophising, for instance at one point one of the tribe leaders says that “the heart should be as open as a door”. If fortune cookie one-liners are what impress you, you will enjoy this film. Equally, Down to Earth also does have a meaningful look at how life exists in the Amazon and small Kenyan communities, unfettered by technology, and able to survive from nature without contributing to its mass destruction. More powerful still is how the Heinen-Winters family spends five years committed to experiencing life this way.

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As us viewers sit comfortably from a distance in awe at the sweeping shots of untrodden desert dunes and sunsets unblocked by the cityscape’s smoggy fumes, it is easy to be carried away in the film’s moments of beauty. Ultimately, we are brought back down to earth when these visuals are paired with a narrative that isn’t just about exposing the consumerist nature of the first world, (what film hasn’t explored it at this point?) but brings us closer to another way of living that relays earthly stewardship from generally unseen corners of the planet.

Reviewed on: 08 Sep 2018
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One family’s journey in search of the ‘keepers of the Earth’.
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Director: Rolf Winters, Renata Heinen

Writer: Rolf Winters, Renata Heinen

Year: 2015

Runtime: 91 minutes

Country: Belgium, UK, US


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