Sunday, May 11, 2008

The bloom of the enviro film.

If you're looking for an enviro-themed film, Katherine Monk at CanWest/ recommends The Green Chain -- along with eco-classics like An Inconvenient Truth, Who Killed the Electric Car?, The Lorax and Blockade (which features the same cinematographer (Kirk Tougas) and sound designer (Gael MacLean) as The Green Chain).

The story includes an interview with The Green Chain's Mark Leiren-Young.

``The idea isn't to lecture people, but to have people identify with the characters and . . . open their eyes to the larger issues,'' said Mark Leiren-Young, the director of The Green Chain, a 2007 movie about the many facets of the forestry industry.

``The whole point of this movie is to get people talking about the real issues from an educated position. The dialogue goes nowhere when it devolves into ignorant blanket statements about which side is right and which side is wrong,'' said Leiren-Young.

``The best way to effect change is to bring all areas of the debate to the stage, and let the audience make their own decision. That way it's real because the viewer has internalized the argument and made it his or her own.''

Here's the full list of recommended eco-films...

The Lorax (1972): There's no doubt Dr. Seuss moulded the minds of young people with his book, and later this TV adaptation, about a community that cut down all its valuable trees for profit, and later paid the environmental price.

If You Love This Planet (1982): Dr. Helen Caldicott's lecture to a group of college students about the dangers of nuclear war set the tone for most of the films that would follow by laying out in clinical terms our capacity for self- destruction. In this landmark award-winner from the NFB's Terre Nash, nuclear war is the trigger for environmental catastrophe, but its sheer sobriety in the face of a real threat seemed to permeate the popular psyche, and readjust our notions of public responsibility. A wave of anti-nuke sentiment followed.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006): Davis Guggenheim proved the power of a lecture captured on screen once more with this surprisingly dramatic examination of climate change via Al Gore. Thanks to Al Gore's recent Nobel Prize co-win, this Oscar-winning film will forever be seen as the tipping point in the environmental movement, as well as a genre hallmark.

Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006): Chris Paine's little movie is about the little car that could: the General Motors all-electric EV1, a zero-emissions vehicle that was introduced into California as an experiment in the late 1990s, and later destroyed by GM when it appeared the car - if mass-produced - had the potential of eliminating every service station in the state because it needed no gas or maintenance. The film is raw but it's personal, and proves what one person with an idea, some passion, and a camera can accomplish.

Manufactured Landscapes (2007): Jennifer Baichwal records Edward Burtynsky's photographic landscapes as they're being created, and shows us industrial ugliness in a different light. By revealing the poetry in the pictures, she proves how mankind has the capacity to redeem itself - even in the face of industrial horrors.

The Unforeseen (2007): Laura Dunn takes on a familiar story of developers vs. environmentalists and turns it into a meditative study on how we live, and how we choose to house ourselves.

Rivers and Tides (2001): Though not an environmental movie on its surface, this documentary about environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy redefines the way we perceive the natural world by making it into physical art objects.

Garbage Warrior


Flow: For Love of Water

Fields of Fuel

The 11th Hour

Planet in Peril

The Future of Food

Everything's Cool


The Simpsons Movie

Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea

Darwin's Nightmare

The Green Chain

1 comment:

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