October 6, 2022


Being in the World: People and the Planet in French and Francophone Cinema
Virtual Screening and Discussion.
Free and open to all. RSVP required.
Animal by Cyril Dion (2021). Documentary, 105 min.

In connection with this virtual screening, we will present an online discussion and Q&A with Director Cyril Dion, Leah Aronowsky, and Jérémy Désir, moderated by Shanny Peer.

The place of humankind among the living is the main subject of this film. At the instigation of Cyril Dion, who has already shared his vision in the highly acclaimed 2015 film Tomorrow (Demain), two teenager activists (Bella Lack and Vipulan Puvaneswaran) embark on an extraordinary quest to understand the impact of the ecological crisis and sixth mass extinction of the earth’s living species, and to find better ways for humans to cohabit more harmoniously alongside other animals. To do so, they travel and meet with scientists and activists all over the globe.

To watch the trailer please click here

Cyril Dion is a French writer, film director, poet, and activist. In 2007, he created the NGO Colibris with Pierre Rabhi and other few friends, which he managed until 2013. In 2012, he also co-founded the magazine Kaizen, to report on how to change the world step by step. He met Mélanie Laurent in 2011 and they produced the video Tous Candidats together for the NGO Colibris. Their shared desire to help the planet gave birth to the amazing documentary Tomorrow, which was an unexpected triumph and offers hopeful and clever solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

Leah Aronowsky is a historian working at the intersection of the history of science and environmental history. She is currently a fellow in the Columbia Society of Fellows and received a PhD in history of science from Harvard University. Her current book project is a history of climate science and climate politics, primarily in the twentieth-century United States.

Jérémy Désir, 28 years old, is an engineer specializing in data science and quantitative finance, with degrees from Ecole des Mines, Imperial College London, and Sorbonne-Polytechnique. In 2019, he publicly resigned from an algorithmic trading position at HSBC’s London headquarters to warn about the sham of green finance. He has since published “Faire sauter la banque” (“Blowing up the Bank”), and co-founded the association “Vous N’êtes Pas Seuls” (“You Are Not Alone”) to support other desertions. He is now starting a Creole garden (Caribbean permaculture) in Martinique, where his father was born.

Shanny Peer is the Director of the Columbia Maison Française and holds a Ph.D. in French Studies from NYU. She is a co-curator of the Being in the World film festival.

This virtual screening is co-presented with Albertine Cinématheque.

Produced and presented by Columbia Maison Française

With additional support provided by Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Columbia Climate School, Knapp Family Foundation, Paul LeClerc Centennial Fund, Columbia University Institute for Ideas and Imagination, Columbia Global Centers | Paris, Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, Alliance Program, and European Institute.

Curated by Shanny Peer, Fanny Guex and Clara Wilhelm

Screenings will be introduced or followed by panel discussions with invited scholars and, in some cases, the film directors. All films are subtitled in English.


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