HOT DOCS FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! One of the powers of a documentary is its ability to give a person and their ideas recognition. Film lives as a testament of acknowledgment to a person and their work, even if they are ahead of their time or not entirely understood. We Are as Gods allows the world to meet, understand, and recognize Stewart Brand.
Brand’s influence spans decades from his time spent with Ken Kesey and Steve Jobs to his work on de-extinction, which uses DNA to bring back extinct plants and animals. This would allow for a broken ecosystem to regenerate as these plants can help the soil and animals in a given region. The idea that a wooly mammoth could roam the Earth again, passenger pigeons return to the skies above us, or the American chestnut tree can grow once more is Brand’s ultimate legacy.
“…de-extinction…uses DNA to bring back extinct plants and animals.”
We Are as Gods starts with a montage of quotes and testimony, setting the stage for Brand and how important and influential he has been to modern life and the movement to save the planet. It’s apparent that he is a man whose peers have acknowledged his thinking and creative abilities to enlighten. It’s also striking to think someone launched a platform that continues to be the center of conversation and the world’s worry about keeping planet Earth not just alive but well. The film’s title comes from Brand’s phrase, “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” The well-spoken sentiment provides a forum for a conversation many not quite fully understand.
Since Brand was a young boy, he has always loved nature, animals, collecting, and learning, which led him to Stanford to study ecology and evolution. Meeting Ken Kesey and becoming part of The Merry Prankster scene allowed him to experiment with thought through LSD, which inspired him to ask NASA to share their photos of Earth with the people. It would be the first time anyone would be able to see what Earth looked like from space.
"…film lives as a testament of acknowledgment to a person and their work..."