Have you heard about this movie before? Released in 2005 and starring Joseph Fiennes along with Kristin Scott Thomas, Man to Man received extremely little attention. If you’re wondering why is that, I have some bad news. People are assholes. This is basically a movie about a time when the British and the rest of the technologically advanced world considered people who lived in Africa a lower species. Exactly because of its story, Man to Man was the opening movie for the 55th Berlin International Film Festival. And then dropped off the map.
And if you’re thinking well, that shit was in the past so distant that it’s not even worth mentioning, you would be wrong. For example, the latest example of a so-called human zoo was at the 1958 Expo in Brussels, where black children were on display. The images are truly shocking and I will leave a link after the review if you want to know more about this. So, after the white race has killed, enslaved, and exploited in every possible way other races, it simply cannot accept that fact. But I digress, it’s time to get back to this movie. While watching it, just keep in mind the fact that these are scientists we’re talking about. The people who are far ahead of the curve in terms of knowledge and understanding. From that, you can extrapolate how ordinary people thought about race and people of color in general.
Joseph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas are two scientists (well Joseph is, Kristin is in for the money) who are trying to find the missing link between man and his ancestors. After they stumble upon two pygmies, it seems that they have finally found what they have been looking for…
With the story set in the 19th century, this excellent movie tries to explain the relationship between civilized and tribal men, mad scientific pursuit, and many other things. Granted, sometimes it tries too much, but at least it tries. It’s like they nailed the main story and all the motives, but they could not properly translate that into a movie that’s flowing with a good tempo. However, this leaves you time to think about the issues raised here. Fiennes and Scott Thomas gave subdued performances pointing out the main theme of the movie. And Iain Glen (Jorah Mormon) was also great as the “evil scientist”.
Now back to the good stuff: cinematography was excellent throughout the movie and in some scenes, simply stunning. Especially in the beginning in the African wilderness that had this wild and undiscovered vibe of a place untouched by “civilized” hand. Not that there’s anything wrong with lush English forests that were more prominent, it’s just we know what’s there. Racist, rich and disgusting lords and ladies and certainly not the poor working people. With a pretty decent budget, Man to Man looks and feels like a blockbuster with an original script. A definition of a thought-provoking movie.
Director: Régis Wargnier
Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Iain Glen, Hugh Bonneville, Flora Montgomery, Alistair Petrie
More info on the Expo 58, look for the human zoo section:Expo 58
Fun Facts: Opening film for 55th Berlin International Film Festival on February 10, 2005 (world premiere).