Technology may be the scourge that drives humans apart, but the new film Lion takes a different tack.
In the Oscar-hopeful film based on a true story Saroo Brierley (Dev Patel) is separated from his mother and brother and ends up traveling across India by train. He’s adopted by an Australian couple and, 25 years later, uses Google Earth to try and find his home and his family.
To give the most possible accuracy to Brierley’s search, Google Earth partnered with the filmmakers to make the Internet visuals as accurate as possible.
In a new featurette, the real-life Brierley discusses using the new technology to unlock the secrets of his past.
“When I downloaded Google Earth I thought ‘Whoa, this is amazing,'” Brierley says in the video, debuting exclusively on Mashable. “And somehow it just clicked. I thought ‘Hang on, this is what I’ve been wanting for such a long time.'”
Brierley remembered images and landmarks from his early childhood in the city of Khandwa, India the type of markers that can’t help in a regular search of the internet (in the film, 5-year-old Saroo doesn’t even know Khandwa’s name). He then turned to math, calculating the hours he spent on the train and its speed in the year 1986. Eventually, he created a radius around the city of Calcutta, where he ended up, and combed the area for his former home.
“There was a sort of unique sense of something quite magical about it,” says producer Iain Canning. “But then also something about the way we live now, and in some ways how technology can actually bring us together as well as separate us.”