iCES Environmental Film Series, Spring Term 2010
Where?: LTB 10 (cinema-quality comfort: big screen, surround-sound, cushy seats!)
When?: Fridays, 3-5pm
Friday, January 29th
Darwin's Nightmare (2004, dir. Hubert Sauper, 106 minutes)
Forty years ago, a voracious predator was introduced into the waters of Tanzania's Lake Victoria where it quickly extinguished the entire stock of native fish. Its ecological impact aside, the Nile Perch became highly prized for its tender, plump fillets, hardly meeting the demand at elegant 4-star European restaurants. Huge, empty foreign cargo planes land to export the lake's gourmet bounty, taking out 55 tons of processed fish daily. In their wake, they leave starving villagers to scrounge a meal out of the discarded fish heads and rotting carcasses. With massive epidemics, raging civil wars, crime, homelessness, and drug-addicted children, the question becomes: what do the reportedly "empty" planes deliver to this destitute community? The answer is as shocking as it is devastating, and Darwin's Nightmare becomes a nightmare for all mankind. (Winner of the 2004 European Film Awards & 2006 Academy Awards for best documentary. Warning: Adult Themes, described by critics as both “harrowing” and “heartbreaking”)
Friday, February 5th
Energy Crossroads: A Burning Need to Change Course (2007, dir. Christophe Fauchere, 56 minutes)
Most experts agree that global peak oil production, when demand exceeds supply, will occur within the next 15 years and will drastically change the very fabric of our industrialized world. Fossil fuels power every facet of our economies; how can we avoid an energy crisis and a possible collapse of our economy? Today, China and India have aspirations to attain our western quality of life; but at the rate and the way we use the world's energy resources, their ambition will be physically impossible. In addition to increasing geopolitical conflicts, the process of extracting and using these crucial resources is endangering the very own habitat that we depend on to prosper as a species - pushing the earth's climate and ecosystem to a point of no-return. This award-winning documentary exposes the problems associated with our energy consumption. It also offers concrete solutions for those who want to educate themselves and be part of the solutions in this decisive era.
Friday, February 12th
Food Double Feature: Food Matters (2009, dirs. James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch, 80 minutes)
Despite the billions of dollars of funding and research into new so-called cures we continue to suffer from a raft of chronic ills and every day maladies. This documentary sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide ‘Sickness Industry’ and exposes a growing body of scientific evidence proving that nutritional therapy can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than most conventional medical treatments. The film features interviews with leading medical experts from around the world who discuss natural approaches to preventing and reversing cancer, obesity, heart disease, depression, mental illness and many other chronic conditions.
A Thousand Suns (2009, dir. Stephen Marshall, 28 minutes)
A Thousand Suns tells the story of the Gamo Highlands of the African Rift Valley and the unique worldview held by the people of the region. This isolated area has remained remarkably intact both biologically and culturally. It is one of the most densely populated rural regions of Africa yet its people have been farming sustainably for 10,000 years. Shot in Ethiopia, New York and Kenya, the film explores the modern world's untenable sense of separation from and superiority over nature and how the interconnected worldview of the Gamo people is fundamental in achieving long-term sustainability, both in the region and beyond.
Friday, February 19th
Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation (1998, dir.Godfrey Reggio, 97 minutes)
Hailed by audiences and critics around the world, this film, the mesmerizing second instalment of Reggio's apocalyptic qatsi trilogy, is quite simply one of the most magnificent visual and aural spectacles ever made. Combining stunning cinematography with the exquisite music of Philip Glass, Powaqqatsi is haunting and epic in scale. Juxtaposing images of ancient cultures with those of modern life, Powaqqatsi masterfully portrays the human cost of progress. The film dramatizes the effects of the so-called First World on the Third: displacement, pollution, alienation. But Reggio spends as much time beautifully depicting what various cultures have lost -- cooperative living, a sense of joy in labor, and religious values -- as he does confronting viewers with trains, airliners, coal cars, and loneliness. Despite the inherent critique in the film, Reggio, a former member of the Christian Brothers, ultimately seems to maintain hope for renewal.
Friday, February 26th
Special Guest Presentation: The End of the Line (2008, dir. Rupert Murray, 80 minutes)Where have all the fish gone? Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. Filmed over two years, The End of the Line is the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. Filmed across the world – from the Straits of Gibraltar to the coasts of Senegal and Alaska to the Tokyo fish market – featuring top scientists, indigenous fishermen and fisheries enforcement officials, the film is a wake-up call to the world. The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans.
The film was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 in the World Cinema Documentary Competition, and we’re very lucky to have Charles Clover, one of the stars of the film, coming to present and discuss the film with us this term.
Friday, March 5th
Six Degrees Could Change the World (2008, National Geographic, 90 minutes)
By the year 2100, many scientists believe that the Earth’s average temperature could rise by as much as six degrees Celsius. In a degree-by-degree investigation, Six Degrees Could Change the World explores what each rising degree could mean for the future of our people and planet. This film explores how global warming has already affected the reefs of Australia, the ice fields of Greenland, and the Amazonian rainforest. With a sobering look at the effect of our world’s insatiable appetite for energy, it explains what’s real, what’s still controversial, and how existing technologies and remedies could help dial back the global thermometer.
Friday, March 12th
What would Jesus Buy? (2009, dir. Rob VanAlkemade, 91 minutes)
Rob VanAlkemade's 'What Would Jesus Buy?' is a rousing, irreverent and simultaneously sobering documentary about the year round destructive shopaholic obsession that spins into and out of control buying and spending orgy by the time Christmas rolls around. The movie follows performance activist Reverend Billy and his ragtag cross country caravan, The Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, to bring the voice of reason to compulsive consumers everywhere. The “What Would Jesus Buy?” project is the brainchild of Morgan Spurlock, the same guy who in a less spiritual frame of mind, lost the junk food battle of the bulge against McDonald's with his Academy Award nominated high calorie investigative doc, Super Size Me. The concerns of What Would Jesus Buy are broader than digestion, as Reverend Billy and entourage put out a wakeup call to mall junkies everywhere, exorcising the demons from assorted cash registers and credit cards as he urges consumers to return to a more authentic relationship with Christmas. Reverend Billy's approach to advocating healing social change, along with the thousands of followers in his congregation, is to infuse protest with humor, energizing his message with feelgood social activism. The businesses he holds up to a higher standard may not feel quite the same way, as the manic preacher formerly known as Bill Talen has been booted from countless stores and malls, and is the only bible thumper to have a permanent restraining order against him issued by Starbucks.
Friday, March 19th
What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire (2007, T.S. Bennett, 123 minutes)A middle class white guy comes to grips with peak oil, climate change, mass extinction, population overshoot, teetering global economies, and our increasingly unstable political climate. This film has been described as a “two-hour poem of great power and beauty. A personal journey, yet a journey that is also deeply universal. A journey that encompasses ignorance, awareness, fear, depression, denial, grief and despair.” Although scientists are interviewed, the majority of the commentators in the film are writers, artists, and academics: Thomas Berry, Jerry Mander, Daniel Quinn, William Catton, Derrick Jensen, Chellis Glendinning, Richard Heinberg, Richard Manning and Ran Prieur.
Friday, March 26th
Flow: How Did a Handful of Corporations Steal our Water? (2008, dir. Irena Salina, 84 minutes)
Irena Salina's award-winning documentary investigates one of the most important political and environmental issues of the 21st Century - the world water crisis. Exploring privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply, Flow focuses on politics, pollution, and human rights. Interviews with scientists and activists reveal some of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, asking the question 'Can anyone really own water?' Beyond identifying the problem, Flow also gives viewers a look at people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.