From The Wild Sea


Reviewed by: Mateusz Tarwacki

From The Wild Sea
"Petré does not use filters, showing the world as it is – starkly beautiful on the eve of disaster." | Photo: Tanya Haurylchyk

One of the first scenes from Robin Petré's From The Wild Sea shows the act of releasing rescued and cured seals into the wild. A group of volunteers and specialists regularly scout the inaccessible windy English coasts, trying to save the animal remnants of wild nature, struggling with man and his waste. After the cages are opened, the seals sluggishly crawl out onto the cold sand, reluctantly and slowly heading back to the sea. As if they know that in a moment they would need help again, as if they did not want to return to their home: less wild and more covered with plastic everyday.

This scene involuntarily evokes associations with the famous sequence from Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End Of The World from 2007, which observes the walk of a lonely penguin that, with hopeless determination, goes in the opposite direction then the flock, striding to meet the unknown. The animals at the Danish director's eyes seem to realise that so-called "wilderness" is over and they no longer belong to it and the only alternative is to confront the unknown.

Copy picture

Petré devotes her entire film to the animal perspective, going beyond humanity, drawing her documentary in a transhumanistic spirit. Most of the camera shots are focused not only on the animals themselves, but are also shot from their level – which is low, close to the ground. In this way, the artist is able to reflect the tragedy of animals, their smallness and powerlessness in the face of an ecological catastrophe, but also strangeness and incompatibility with humans – including those who try to save animals. From The Wild Sea shows how far these two worlds – civilisation and nature – are distanced from each other, as if the only places where they meet are the operating table or the dissecting room.

Petré does not use filters, showing the world as it is – starkly beautiful on the eve of disaster. Windy, cloudy, rainy, where high waves are like heavy tears of despair. In which the human reality seems to be a completely different fairy tale – as if people are trying to cover a catastrophe happening in real time before their eyes with the glitz of flashes and the noise of crowds.

From The Wild Sea is a cold, sad and inaccessible film, just as the places it portrays, although the director does not lack accurate, sharp irony, especially towards people. There is a clear statement resulting from the film: man should take responsibility for the world. And if he does, indeed, do that, is wearing a plush seal costume the pinnacle of his commitment?

Reviewed on: 01 Mar 2021
Share this with others on...
From The Wild Sea packshot
The director considers the critical relationship between humans and wild animals and the consequences of climate change.

Director: Robin Petré

Starring: Dan Jarvis

Year: 2021

Runtime: 78 minutes

Country: Denmark

Search database:

If you like this, try:

Encounters At The End Of The World