In the context of the lecture series ‘Empathy’, art cinema Movie W screens the documentary ‘Buddy’ (English subs), which raises fascinating questions concerning inter-species empathy. Free entrance for WUR-card holders.
Director Heddy Honigmann is known for her sublime, intimate documentary portraits. Mostly of people, but in Buddy also of their ‘best friends’. Human and dog seem to be able to bond so well that one cannot help but feel that there is a very strong mutual understanding. And that the deeper emotional and compassionate empathy often seems to be by the dog. Take the war veteran suffering from PTSD, who can only feel at easy when his dog faithfully watches his back. Which it does, every second he sits on a bench in a park. Or the autistic boy whose dog exactly notices when he is upset, and then quickly comforts him. He loves his dog, one of the dog owners confesses to Honigmann. ‘But it’s still a dog. And I’m still a human.’
About lecture series Empathy
At a time when social contrasts and social inequality are coming to the fore, there are loud calls for more empathy. Many regard the human ability to put ourselves in another person’s place as a tried and tested remedy for indifference. But what is empathy? What does it do? And will ‘more empathy’ really make the world a better place?