Discovery

Human Traces

Nic Gorman

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A husband and wife research team stationed on a remote island find the delicate ecosystem of their relationship challenged by the arrival of a mysterious young man, in this densely atmospheric feature debut by Nic Gorman.

In his directorial debut, Nic Gorman boldly explores two subjects of limitless complexity: environmental science and the human heart. Set in a desolate subantarctic island of stunning, bleak beauty, Human Traces initially centres on Glenn and Sarah, married scientists stationed on the remote slopes for a year to study the effects of trophic cascade, an ecological event triggered by the removal of a predator from an ecosystem.

Glenn and Sarah's relationship seems solid enough to weather the isolation and hardship of the island, until two changes in their own private ecosystem occur — Sarah discovers she is pregnant, and their quarterly supply ship brings Pete, a new caretaker who may not actually be who he claims to be. Both of these events lead to a fascinating, surprising ecological upheaval of the very human kind. And after their only radio is destroyed, the stakes can only go higher.

Told in Rashomon style where the events reflect the main characters' parallel but contradictory points of view, Human Traces leverages an unforgiving landscape to paint a powerful portrait of complex human foibles. Part psychological thriller, part science-based drama, the film presents a perfect crucible for exploring what people are capable of under the most extreme circumstances.

JANE SCHOETTLE

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