Cineding Open Air Cinema at Hildegarten, R√∂ckener Str. 44, Leipzig
Ojoboca (Anja Dornieden and Juan David Gonz√°lez Monroy): Her Name Was Europa, 2020, 16mm, 76min
The aurochs, the pre¬≠cur¬≠sor of modern catt¬≠le, is con¬≠si¬≠de¬≠red to be the first docu¬≠men¬≠ted case of exter¬≠mi¬≠na¬≠ti¬≠on of a spe¬≠ci¬≠es. The last known aurochs died 1627 in the forest of Jaktor√≥w, Poland. In the 20th cen¬≠tu¬≠ry, attempts to revi¬≠ve the aurochs began.
Ojoboca (Anja Dornieden and Juan David Gonz√°lez Monroy), filmma¬≠kers from Berlin, in their film Her Name Was Europa look into various dif¬≠fe¬≠rent pro¬≠jects that tried to revi¬≠ve the aurochs. In the 1920s, German zoo¬≠lo¬≠gists Lutz and Heinz Heck deci¬≠ded to start a bree¬≠ding back pro¬≠ject. The bro¬≠thers, who were direc¬≠tors of the zoos in Berlin and Munich, respec¬≠tively, cross-bred various modern catt¬≠le breeds, hoping to end up with a crea¬≠tu¬≠re that would resem¬≠ble the ori¬≠gi¬≠nal aurochs.
The Heck bro¬≠thers‚Äô fan¬≠tastic goal con¬≠for¬≠med to the ideo¬≠lo¬≠gy of racial puri¬≠fi¬≠ca¬≠ti¬≠on which at that time was glo¬≠ri¬≠fied by natio¬≠nal socia¬≠lism. The Heck bro¬≠thers attemp¬≠ted to ree¬≠sta¬≠b¬≠lish the aurochs‚Äô bio¬≠lo¬≠gi¬≠cal unity which they belie¬≠ved had been dege¬≠ne¬≠ra¬≠ted through domesti¬≠ca¬≠ti¬≠on. The aurochs was con¬≠si¬≠de¬≠red stron¬≠ger, purer, and more beau¬≠ti¬≠ful than domesti¬≠ca¬≠ted catt¬≠le, and the¬≠re¬≠fo¬≠re cor¬≠re¬≠spon¬≠ded to the German ide¬≠al of an unspoilt, heroic nature.
Once the lar¬≠gest European land mam¬≠mal, the aurochs was a sym¬≠bol of German power and supe¬≠rio¬≠ri¬≠ty, but World War II baff¬≠led the bree¬≠ding back pro¬≠ject. Heck catt¬≠le, the off¬≠spring of tho¬≠se expe¬≠ri¬≠ments, still live in Germany today. As a sci¬≠en¬≠ti¬≠fic enter¬≠pri¬≠se, howe¬≠ver, the Hecks‚Äô pro¬≠ject is con¬≠si¬≠de¬≠red a failure.
Heck catt¬≠le invol¬≠un¬≠ta¬≠ri¬≠ly embo¬≠dy a para¬≠do¬≠xi¬≠cal view. This view values natu¬≠re as some¬≠thing who¬≠le, pure, and untouched; and yet it tri¬≠es to form it accord¬≠ing to human needs and wis¬≠hes. Even today, natu¬≠re is being for¬≠med in various ways in order to pre¬≠ser¬≠ve it. The film loo¬≠ks into some of the psy¬≠cho¬≠lo¬≠gi¬≠cal traces this stri¬≠ving left during the cour¬≠se of its his¬≠to¬≠ri¬≠cal development.