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Der automobile Mensch

FromReinhard Seiß

WithSprecher: Christian Springer



The current documentary by urban planner, specialist author, and filmmaker Reinhard Seiß is a stirring plea for a fundamental shift in transportation that goes well beyond current political objectives. Seiß sees such a shift as essential if efforts towards climate protection, as well as land and resource conservation, are to have even a modicum of success.

His film reflects on present-day transportation in all its spatial, ecological, economic, and societal dimensions, exposing the direct and indirect drivers of the "car system": decision-makers and beneficiaries from politics and business, legal and financial frameworks of our mobility – and not least, urban planning and settlement development as both the cause and effect of traffic.

The film demonstrates convincingly, through compelling "best practices" from across the German-speaking world, that the economy and society can easily cope with much less car traffic. Conversely, it shows how the technology worship and growth fixation of our ostensibly sustainable "resource exploitation society" obstruct a real shift.

Seiß presents a multitude of sometimes shocking, sometimes absurd examples of political and corporate denial and whitewashing, often eliciting either head-shaking or laughter. The film's pointed commentary provides ample grounds for both. What remains is the realization that in transportation, nothing has to be as it is. But also, that citizens themselves may need to initiate the shift towards a future-proof mobility.