THE SECOND LIFE

We accompany three world-class taxidermists as they prepare for the Taxidermy Championships. A fascinating interplay between life and death, human and environment, nature and artificiality.

There is a widespread misconception that taxidermists are poachers who work in small, dark rooms surrounded by animal guts and bones, have a macabre fascination with death, and decorate their homes with large hunting trophies. We know little about this complex cultural technique and its masters, who work day in, day out at the crossroads between craft, art and science. The film follows the three world-class taxidermists Robert Stein, Maurizio Gattabria and Christophe de Mey, who work for natural history museums in Rome, Berlin and Brussels, and consider themselves guardians of an important part of our cultural heritage. Although they have never met, they share the conviction that preserved animals can help to overcome the gap between society and nature. The three are shown preparing for the 2018 European Taxidermy Championships, the most important competition of their careers. While this is the last chance for Maurizio before retiring, Christophe is participating for the first time. For Robert, the title of European Champion is all that’s missing from his collection of international awards. The film becomes a fascinating interplay between life and death, human and environment, nature and artificiality.

Feature Documentary / Human Interest
Film by Davide Gambino
Length 90’/52’ HD
Co-production Valentin Thurn Filmproduktion with Mon Amour Film and Take Five, 2020
Original Title The Second Life