Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness 2021
Distributed by Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-FROG (3764)
Produced by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black
Directed by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black
Streaming, 106 mins
Brain; Neuroscience; Philosophy; Psychology
Date Entered: 11/03/2022Reviewed by Giovanna Colosi, Librarian for the School of Education, Subject Instruction Lead, Syracuse University
With beautiful cinematography and a captivating topic, Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness is a film that quickly draws in the viewer. The film asks many questions like, what is consciousness? Are humans the only ones capable of consciousness? What makes us able to achieve higher thought?
Throughout the film the audience gets to meet six talented researchers who tackle consciousness in vastly different ways. The film straddles the line of the scientific, from a researcher performing Pavlovian experiments on pea plants. Also, the existential, where a scientist explains to the audience a particularly “trippy” experience he had while on psychedelic drugs. And spiritual, where a former scholar turned Buddhist monk describes his experiences with altered states of consciousness and what led him from a path of science to religion. The sequences from one interviewee to another, as well as the relationships between each researcher’s perspective, is successfully achieved and helps with the cohesiveness of the film.
Be aware there is one scene towards the end of the movie where a cow is slaughtered, so those educators planning on showing the film can let viewers/students know ahead of time, or perhaps can skip this section of film. Other than this quick 5-minute scene, the film is exquisitely shot and should not be missed just for this sequence.
Directors Eric Black and Frauke Sandig keep the scholarly concepts easily accessible for the average viewer but also have enough intellectual ideas to keep the academics intrigued.
This film is an excellent addition to collections in psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience. for university and college libraries.
Awards: ILLUMINATE Film Festival 2021 Winner, Jury Prize; Maui Film Festival 2021, Winner, Audience Award; Millennium Docs Against Gravity 2021, Winner, Online Audience Award
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