Progress vs Sunsets
The biggest stars on YouTube are animals. Thousands of videos with wild or domesticated animals in the lead role are uploaded every day. Children watch these films eagerly, and often use them as their main source of information. Editing the children into the animal videos themselves, Melanie Bonajo asks a group of elementary school children about their thoughts on the environment and animal welfare. The answers betray a distorted view of nature, but also a generous portion of unadulterated idealism and empathy. In the second part of the film, dressed in fantasy costumes, the children take revenge on the polluting adult world by smashing up a wrecked car.
Bonajo has built an oeuvre focusing on marginalized figures such as hunter-gatherers or members of a sex commune. The reality of these children also lies just outside the mainstream. They are determined to make the world a better place, and transform it to match their ideal. Nevertheless, they sometimes take a less idealistic attitude: “I’m happy to live a less luxurious life, as long as everybody else does, too…” Have the seeds of adult behavior already been sown?