There are timeless questions that human beings have always asked themselves. These are questions that transcend cultures and territories, common concerns: who am I, what am I doing here, where do we come from, where are we going… The answers, fortunately, are less homogeneous. They are not only conditioned by the mood of each, but also by his environment, the one where he lives.
Finding these answers is one of the greatest attractions of any trip. Visiting other societies gives us access to their beliefs and values; the depth of the find depends on the length of stay. Thus we relativize our own certainties and learn tolerance. It is the same, neither more nor less, the intention that animates the film. Zinc.
Its creator, Segis Monsó Agorreta, traveled 55,000 km and 21 countries in search of understanding. Throughout the film, he presents a brief selection of topics to 28 adults, who expose their own perception. The profile of the protagonists is varied, ranging from European retirees to Mongolian Buddhist monks, Sinhalese Muslims, Australian professionals, Cuban businessmen… Their ages also differ, from their twenties to their octogenarians, opening thus a range of existential attitudes.
Like other creatives, Monsó combined her desire to tell stories with nurturing work; in his case, as a commercial director. The situation lasted until July 2015, when he left this position to devote himself body and soul to his cinematographic vocation. Three years later, in 2018, he founded the audiovisual production company Last Horse Studio, whose objective is “to raise awareness for a better world through cinema”. Zinc It was his first feature film.
The film alternates between close-ups of the interviewees and impressive exterior panoramas.
The film alternates close-ups of the interviewees in full presentation of their reasoning, and the impressive panoramic views outside: the Yangtze River (China), the Havana promenade, the Red Square in Moscow, the rice fields in Bali, the Andean plateau appear .. There are also urban plans in all the inhabited continents, scenes that share frenetic traffic, this mixture of stress and vitality specific to cities.
The alternation translates the paradox between continuity and divergence. Unlike other similar projects, Zinc it moves away from necrophilia: it does not recreate itself in the great monuments of civilizations that have already disappeared, but rather focuses its interest on the people of today, the simple, ordinary people without political responsibilities or elaborate speeches, like most of us we.
To discern what unites us and what differentiates us, Monsó raises four major questions or blockages to his interlocutors:
- What is most important in life?
- What do you think of death? Do you think there is life after?
- What does religion mean to you? Why are there so many? Why is yours better?
- Why are we on this planet, what is our function?
Problems allow for many shocking answers worth pondering
The stakes, you see, are relevant. In fact, they allow for a lot of awesome answers, the kind you want to write down in a notebook to think about later. Let me list a few, just a very small sample: “Unfortunately, people are more likely to die for ‘something’ than to live for ‘something'”; “What you take out of life is what you bring into life”; “Religion is a discipline created by humans for their benefit and mismanaged to meet their needs”; “There is only one God… with many names”…
There are also outlandish comments, of course, like the one that points out that “man is an experiment, we are part of an investigation by higher beings.”
The ambition of the questions is both the strength and the weakness of the project. It enhances its effectiveness because it channels it through desires that affect the viewer, such as what is truly essential to being happy. But it also highlights the fragility, as the suggested areas are so wide and deep that they tend to merge. For example, the answers about religion, death, or why we are on this planet overlap a bit, and the film blurs into one continuous discourse. The fact does not matter because the film is not heavy, it just takes it a little away from the original intention.
Zinc It was financed thanks to the help of many patrons, individuals and companies. The film respects the language of each interlocutor (English, Russian, Vietnamese, Hindi, Basque…), while subtitling the comments in Spanish if necessary.
address: Segis Monsó and Xabier Hernaiz.
Script: Segis Monso.
Photography: Segis Monso.
Gender: Documentary film.
Producer: Last horse studio.
Duration: 73 mins.
Platform: Filmin and Prime Video.