How People Got Fire is a gorgeous, sixteen-minute film. It’s gorgeous because ancient reality—what Robert Bringhurst would call mythtime—folds into the day to day of a contemporary present. And it’s gorgeous because it’s set in Carcross, Yukon. Plus, it’s an animated documentary (fascinating concept). So I opened up some questions and advanced some arguments.
The realism of the southern Yukon landscape and the specificity of Carcross Mountain suggest this film’s relationship to the real world is crucial. In order to register the film’s meaning, its argument, or its thesis, it’s thus crucial we understand the film to be “true.” But the film represents at least two real worlds: a nonfiction distant time and a nonfiction present time. As a documentary film, what is the production documenting about each? And as a digital essay, what is the film asking about each? How do distant time and present time relate? How do the mixed approaches of abstraction and realism knit these two worlds together without defining one as more true than the other?