Homo Sapiens Project (200) (2002-2021)
Title: Homo Sapiens Project (201)
A Film By Rouzbeh Rashidi
County of Production: Iran & Ireland
Genre: Experimental, Art Film, Independent Film
Duration: 1150 Minutes
Production: Experimental Film Society
Funding Body: Self-funded
As part of the Homo Sapiens Project
In 2021, I reached a milestone with the completion of the Homo Sapiens Project (201) - an integral part of re-envisioning and restructuring my entire filmography. This project is a colossal, nineteen-hour experimental feature woven from numerous films I produced from 2002 to 2014. Each feature was an exploratory endeavour, a test or a trial experiment.
The films were assembled from diverse sources, including footage I had amassed over the years, archival footage, found footage and rushes generously contributed by my close collaborators. More specifically, there was no premeditated plan for any of these films. Instead, each work was a spontaneous response to an existential impulse. In retrospect, I realized that these films were primarily an extreme, extended formalistic exercise that gradually evolved into a means of making sense of my life as an artist and an immigrant.
I must underscore that this project is not a new film. Instead, it is a work that has been rehabilitated, revitalized, and resurrected from obscurity. It's as if the film, with my assistance, restored itself to total health and vibrancy through discipline and healing after a long period of metaphorical imprisonment, addiction, or illness. The healing process necessitated the unification of these works into one cohesive body and nervous system. Hence, the Homo Sapiens Project became the ultimate catharsis for these films.
I felt compelled to make a series of films, driven by a unique internal urge, despite not knowing the reason or purpose behind their creation. It was akin to being pregnant with an idea that demanded to be birthed. But why? The answers to such queries lie within the films themselves — creations born out of specific human circumstances and situations at particular moments in my life. Surprisingly, I found that these films provided answers to questions I wasn't even aware of at the time.
Unravelling the context of a film can take time; sometimes, it remains elusive forever. Why should it be otherwise when the uncanny reality of life is as profoundly mysterious as it is? From my perspective, there is no discernible difference between filmmaking and living life. Consequently, the path of this film has looped back onto itself, forming an ellipse or spiral rather than a straight, unbroken thread. A linear path belongs only to geometry, not to the organic nature of evolution.
Ultimately, I was left with a fundamental question that sent chills down my spine: What if this work is just a part of a more significant film or scenario that I am currently oblivious to and cannot envision? Could it be my life as a filmmaker? The answer remains unknown.