American Night

by Nele Wohlatz
Status: In Development
Invited to the Artist Residency Villa Aurora, Los Angeles and selected at San Sebastian Film Festival Co production Forum 2020


Do animals really perform? This film examines the craft of animal wranglers: The training of certain actions and subsequent bewilderment on set; miscommunication between the trainer ́s intention and the animal’s will; how the dynamics of a shooting stress up the waiting time on set. When we approach the lens to the behavior of both people and animals, even simple actions hold suspense, while we wait for the animals’ reaction.
When communication is achieved we become witnesses of that fragile encounter of reality and fiction in which cinema lays its foundations. Animals as protagonists, real and fictional at the same time.
Why do we look at animals? What role does fiction assign them, beyond their part in a script? In what ways do they blur the line separating nature and artifice, fiction and reality? What kind of language is there between humans and animals? How are animals told what to do? Can animals really act?
This documentary tells about the effort required for mutual understanding to take place, and it highlights the fleeting moments in which this happens. We might be following the intuition of a world beyond the one we know, if its boundaries are drawn by human language.