Documentaries, with their insistence on critical thinking, often feel profoundly human. Yet several films at Full Frame this year delve into the complex beauty of wildlife, instead, using animals as mirrors for society and measuring up the arbitrary line we’ve drawn between being nature’s caretakers and inhabitants.

THE ART OF FLYING (April 7, 1:30 p.m.)The deft movements of the common starling’s glossy, black body remain a scientific mystery. When last year’s warm winter kept the birds in the Netherlands, filmmaker Jan van IJken captured dense concentrations of the birds in flight. This artistic short meditates on their majestic spiral formations, which shift and dilate without any discernible leadership.