WDR/3Sat, 74 min, 2011
“Think about it: there’s an insect that only lives for three or four hours. I wonder whether it experiences anything? Can it perceive stuff? Does it age?”
Jonathan Neumann, 17, lives with his parents in the outskirts of Berlin. The living room of their cozy suburban home is stuffed full of fine-meshed cages and magnifying glasses. Jonathan is a nature-lover; specialty: creepy-crawlies. Bugs. No matter where, when or who he is with, Jonathan likes nothing better than getting down on his belly to study plants and insects. Still only in his teens, professional biologists already acknowledge his expertise in the field. With his customary dry humor, Jonathan invites us on an expedition into the world of small creatures and giant meaning. Regarding himself within the scheme of natural selection, however, he concludes that he would not have survived. Jonathan was born prematurely with a cleft lip and palate. After barely surviving surgery last year, he is now facing another operation, which may help him eventually achieve a “normal midface”. But is this truly necessary? What does the face mean to a person? Who determines the norm? With eloquence and charisma, Jonathan invites us into the fascinating world of his biological excursions. A moving coming-of-age story about bugs, beauty and being yourself.
Jury Statement Earth Vision Award 2013, Japan:
“This film is more than a story of a boy with physical disfigurement. It is an excellent piece portraying the theme of diversification and circulation, in the expanded meaning of being organically connected. This film illustrates that all living beings have the strength to adapt. It shows life’s great potentials and abundances, in this evolving natural environment.”