Against all expectations, large wildlife seems to be reconquering Europe… For the last ten years or so, scientists have noted a spectacular return of wild animals to the Old World. Today, they have decided to speed up this process, and extol a new approach in ecology: Rewilding. A new paradigm, a new way of associating ourselves with European nature. To what extent can we give back European ecosystems their complexity and richness? The documentary shows contemporary rewilding efforts and the latest views, insights and lessons from a wide range of experts. It takes us on a true “road movie” across Europe:  an exciting quest to understand the human, scientific and environmental stakes that lie behind this idea of a new Utopia. This film, first ever about rewilding, invites viewers to discover this resolutely revolutionary way of managing Nature, one of this millennium’s most exciting, and also most controversial, visions.

Director's statement

In September 2013, the well-known Guardian editorial writer George Monbiot held a TED conference that shook his audience. He explained that, without being aware of it, our society felt an “ecological lack” – a feeling of emptiness… But he also talked of the new possibilities of stopping the erosion of biodiversity and helping it regain its past splendour, of re-entrancing the world. A single word encapsulated his hope: “REWINDING”. Bring back vanished species, give vast areas over to Nature, rediscover the ancient landscapes of our countries here, in Europe? This breath of optimism has stirred the ideas of scientists, thinkers and decision-makers, who see the chance of trying a fresh approach, of beginning a new era: that of Rewilding – where man recreates Nature and gives it back its space. We do not know if this is the right approach. But one thing is certain : it is new and it is different. This is why we have decided to investigate this new “European policy” on Nature and look into a trend that is currently provoking passionate controversy in the heart of the scientific world and also in the heart of society at large.

Why we selected this film

Here is a good introduction to a subject which is as yet unknown, retracing the history and reasons for the loss of biodiversity on the European territory. It explains the impact and consequences on ecosystems. This optimistic film looks at obstacles and the political, social and ethical issues of certain projects and draws our attention to our own relationship with nature and our place in the global ecosystem. An extremely approachable film for a high school audience which would also be ideal for Natural Sciences students.