Category Archives: Films on Environment Problems

‘Tomorrow’ (Demain), Review

What a difference it makes for the year. Toward the end of 2015, a new docket for Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion, a wonderful one about the complex, cohesive, and potential problems facing our global world was opened in France.

Educational research, which touches the continent into a spectacular one, garnered more than a million accolades, won the César of Best Documentary 2016, and became a focal point for citizen engagement committed to putting all practical, inspiring, and global thinking together.

About 16 months – and the most divisive and controversial U.S. election – later, opens in the United States, just two days before France itself voted, running for president who was one of the world’s leaders called and congratulated Donald Trump on US victory. Now that its challenges, though extremely urgent, can be seen as a priority.

The film, sponsored by Laurent and Dion in conjunction with scientific research in the journal Nature, states that at present levels of population growth, resource use, and environmental degradation, humanity may be on the verge of extinction by the end of this century. But to bind even though that thought is certain, the year 2100 is considered a luxury if you doubt that we will arrive at the end of next week.

Initially, “Tomorrow” does little to dispel allegations that it will have a positive but negative effect. Recently renamed as American audience, Laurent’s beloved English tells us that he and his cell-phone friends were shown engaging in French conversations in romantic restaurants, “they were not activists or vulgar scandals, but … we saw fit to do something.” – Their new abbey Road on the beaches, airport concerts, and moor boggy while the twee of pop life plays the soundtrack. It’s all a bit “How to Save the World and Be Instagram-Ready While Doing It.”

Whale Rider, review

Written and directed by Niki Caro, inspired by a novel by Witi Ihimaera, Whale Rider has already been considered to be one of the greatest audience-grabbers in recent years and won the audience awards as the most popular film at both the Sundance and Toronto film festivals. It follows a 12-year-old Maori girl who has a dream of becoming the chief of her people.

The speciality of the movie is the way it sidesteps all of the obvious cliches of the underlying story, making it become fresh, tough, observant, and genuinely moving. Whale Rider proves that there is a deep difference between a movie for 12-year-old girls and a movie about 12-year-old girls.

Taking place in the present day in New Zealand, the movie starts with the birth of twins when the boy and the mother die and the girl, Pai (by Keisha Castle-Hughes) survives. Her father, Porourangi (by Cliff Curtis), an artist, decides to leave New Zealand, and the little girl Pai is raised with love by her grandparents Koro and Nanny Flowers.

Koro is the chief of these people. Meanwhile, Porourangi has no interest in returning home. Her grandfather fiercely opposes the idea Pai believes that she could serve as the chief. Despite his love, he causes Pai much hurt by questioning her achievements, doubting her, insisting in the face of everything she achieves.

Whale Rider describes these situations within the rhythms of daily life. This is the story of real people living in modern times, not a simplistic fable. There are moments when the little girl is lost in despair and discouragement, and when her father comes to visit her, she almost leaves with him. But, no, her people need her, even though her grandfather may not realize it.

Pai is played by Keisha Castle-Hughes, a newcomer who can make you quickly realize: This is a movie star. She glows, stands up to her grandfather in painful scenes, finds dignity, and then runs around the village like the kid she is.

Two Highly-recommended Environmental Short Films That Can Bring New Greenies Up to Speed

If you are keen to learn about topics such as climate change or global warming but don’t have time to read 300-page books, these green short films will help deepen your understanding of the environmental issue that humanity faces without taking you too much time.

Detox: How People Power is Cleaning Up Fashion

Created for Greenpeace’s global Detox campaign, this film lasts in only four minutes but can raise awareness of the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industries. Its aim is to phase out the use of hazardous chemicals in fashion products and in the fashion supply chain by 2020. Detox: How People Power is Cleaning Up Fashion shares alarming facts that 40% of surface water is considered to be polluted in China and 320 million can’t access to clean drinking water. The film also includes disturbing images of toxic chemicals that are dumped in the rivers in the developing world. With more than 1.1 million views around the world, this film is a must-watch for fashion designers, fashion activists, entrepreneurs, and style lovers as well.

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff is a 21-minute fast-paced film that is filled with information. It is highly recommended viewing for those who want to know more about the materials economy. It also shows about how the stuff we use impacts the environment, human health, and communities. The film discovers the entire lifecycle of goods, from resource extraction, production, and distribution to sale, customer use, and finally disposal. It exposes many environmental, social, and political issues, including the use of toxic chemicals, how the system is designed to encourage more consuming and wasting, and how corporations have more influence than governments.

From human health issues to the climate change, the film succeeds in showing that the current linear system of production, supplement, and consumption isn’t working and shares what individuals and organizations are doing to help solve these issues.

Movies that teach kids about climate change (part 4)

Tomorrow

Directed by actress Melanie Laurent, Tomorrow is an optimistic documentary about saving the planet. Laurent has traveled around the world to search for innovative ways people have devised to face climate change, economic inequality, and other issues. The film is informative and thought-provoking. It can even inspire some people to take action without any inappropriate content, and messages/themes consist of the importance of perseverance, curiosity, and innovation.

Tomorrow is worth watching but the information is delivered in a straightforward way that doesn’t always hold viewers’ gaze. Sometimes it seems too simplistic. Although the film showcases amazing, innovative ways to rethink basic practices, it doesn’t always well explain what they cost. However, it can’t be denied that Laurent’s movie is a fun jaunt into the world of possibilities.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

This is the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, the 2006 documentary telling about Al Gore’s campaign to raise the awareness about climate change. The sequel is less focused and more fragmented than the original, still offering updated information, reasons to be hopeful, as well as more insight into Gore himself. It is particularly worth seeing for middle school-age kids and up. But we need to confirm that sensitive viewers may be upset by the images of devastating storms and displaced people, and the discussions of the wounded and dead as well as warnings of more possible devastation to come.

Cool It

Cool It is a documentary that is touted as a kind of anti-An Inconvenient Truth, despite the fact that both films acknowledge the threat of climate crisis and global warming and both try to find solutions. The movie features some strong imagery such as scenes of destruction or dying polar bears.

This documentary follows Lomborg, defending his positions, and outlining some of his ideas. In general, this film debunks the scare tactics that was used by An Inconvenient Truth and leaves off with the hopeful notion that the crisis can be solved.

Forget Shorter Showers, review

Based on an essay by anarchist Derrick Jensen, Forget Shorter Showers is a documentary that challenges neoliberal dogma, making each person responsible for reversing the ongoing environmental destruction due to the industrial capitalism. Consumers participating in the campaign are told to fly and use cars less, change their light bulbs, and take shorter showers. They are the victims of systemic misdirection by a pernicious PR industry. The campaign comes out that we can save the planet through market-based solutions like shopping.

Forget Shorter Showers is a 11-minute green film that urges people to think of changing their personal lifestyle and personal consumptive habits, including taking shorter showers, living simply without having children, being involved in organized resistance movements with the aim of challenging the industrialized system. It provides convincing evidence that only in the US, if each individual made slow lifestyle changes, it would reduce carbon emissions by 22%. The film suggest people taking part in activities such as boycotting, running for office, and protesting in order to disrupt the industrialized economy.

However, there is a few criticism of Forget Shorter Showers, such as the opinion convince that it separates direct action from collective action. However, these are not mutually exclusive. That the mainstream view assigns all blame to individuals should be dismissed but we can’t dismiss that consumers’ demands help to fuel our economies is a basic rule of economics. Each person’s individual needs, wants, desires, and lifestyle choices help to develop the growth economy. The film also face up with another criticism that it fails to recognize that the industrialized economy is just made up of collective groups of flawed humans operating in flawed systems created by flawed humans. To remedy this, it requires a human evolution, which can only start with the individual.

Anyway, to conlude, Forget Shorter Showers helps people to realize that personal change is not social change, so we must and need to do more than just take shorter showers.

Movies that teach kids about climate change (part 2)

A Fish Tale (Help! I’m a Fish)

A Fish Tale – an inventive, animated Danish film (nicely revoiced for English-speaking audiences) – includes some suspenseful moments and some moderately scary visuals (an angry octopus, a toothy shark-villain, a raging storm, a battling army of crabs). Although no one is hurt or killed, the kids (and fish) are threatened with physical harm and/or death, warfare in several scenes, so it might not be right for young kids or those who are easily frightened. One chubby boy is a stereotypical nerdy kid, teased because of his weight and smarts, but he’s ultimately very likable and proves to be someone the others can rely on.

Arctic Tale

Although Arctic Tale is basically kid-friendly, there are parts that might be disturbing, especially for kids under six. For example, a male polar bear nearly captures (and eats) one of the cuddly baby bears with which viewers may identify.

Ice Age: The Meltdown

This film is a sequel to Ice Age. Because of global warming, the heroes are in peril from rising waters and they are stalked by somewhat scary-looking underwater creatures. There is comic slapstick violence (the acorn-chasing muskrat is squashed, splatted, attacked by a vulture, etc.), sad memory of a mother’s death, and a flood, and the tiger’s fear of water is rendered in a couple of “nightmare” images (his point of view underwater, with big music).

To the Arctic

To the Arctic is an educational 3-D nature documentary telling the story about the animals that thrive in the world’s harshest climate. There’s nothing objectionable in the documentary, but some very young kids might be disturbed by the tense scenes when a male polar bear pursues a mother and her cubs or when the white cubs get bloody from eating hunted meat. The narrator also explains that some cubs and caribou newborns have died because of the elements or starvation.

Happy Feet Movie, Review

Baby penguin Mumble (Wood) prefers dancing to singing, much to the disgust of the musical colony where he lives. As he tries to find his place and win the heart of Gloria (Brittany Murphy), he discovers something rotten at the heart of Antarctica.

For the last few years, penguins have been poised on the brink of cinematic superstardom, from their documentary blockbuster to the commando types of Madagascar.

The first 15 minutes of the movie are basically a recap of March Of The Penguins. Emperor penguins court each other by singing heartsongs to find a mate, and Kidman’s Monroe-esque Norma Jean is swept off her feet by Jackman’s down-home rendition of Heartbreak Hotel. It is a slightly odd decision to imbue this least musical of birds with a penchant for bursting into song, but the results are undeniably foot-tapping. In due course arrives the  cute Mumble, a penguin who just can’t sing, but has feet faster than Michael Flatley.

Directed by Mad Max’s George Miller, Happy Feet gives even more of a romantic gloss to the penguins’ struggles but doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of Antarctic life. Once the chicks hatch, things settle briefly into the cozy musical extravaganza the trailers promised: the penguins singing out their hearts while Robin Williams pops up, Genie-like, and Mumble shuffles his feet to add some extra laughs. The movie takes a twist into much darker territory.

Overfishing, the evils of zoos and the sanctity of Antarctica are all addressed as Mumble’s quest for acceptance takes him to dangerous places. It’s such a strong message that the film was branded an “animated Inconvenient Truth”, which is hopefully a recommendation.

For sure, the hit that pork futures took after Babe is nothing in comparison to the fishfinger backlash that this invites. However, the huge shift in tone is disconcerting, and for every kid encouraged to campaign for a brighter future for penguins, there will be two who refuse ever to go back to the zoo.

Movies that teach kids about climate change (part 1)

Although climate change is a tough issue to discuss with kids, these kid-friendly movies are a great way to start the conversation.

Happy Feet

Happy Feet is an appealing animated movie with lots of catchy music. It has environmental themes about humans intruding on natural habitats but avoiding the questions of how to solve the problem. The movie features some chase sequences and elephant seal scenes that might be scary for younger children. However, the film’s messages of social acceptance, integrity, and embracing your own uniqueness shine through.

Police Patrol

Police Patrol is a computer-animated movie telling the story of a cute VW Bug police car that is fighting with two brothers who attempt to steal the water of a quaint village as well as wreak havoc with the environment. The overall shrillness in the characters’ voices and the simplicity of the story make it become a movie best enjoyed by young kids. Its strong pro-environment stance may be a bit much for some. However, overall, the movie’s message should resonate with those who concern about the use and abuse of water, land, and air, and should inspire discussion with younger children about the importance of protecting and saving these resources.

A Beautiful Planet

A Beautiful Planet is a stunning IMAX documentary that brings viewers to the International Space Station to view Earth from space. There’s no shortage of incredible views, including the drought-stricken California landscape, a massive typhoon in the South Pacific, and the melting Greenland ice sheet. Children will learn about life on the space station and see the huge impact of humanity on our planet, from deforestation to greenhouse gas emissions. The images (particularly in the IMAX scale) may be a little overwhelming for younger children, but anyone interested in space, science, or the environment will certainly be blown away, and the astronauts are role models who demonstrate the importance of cooperation and communication.

Five environmental films to watch when you’re stuck at home due to coronavirus

Reserve your days and get the popcorn ready! For two weeks or even more when you’re stuck at home due to the spread of the coronavirus, watch these following environmental films to treat yourself something quite sweet and meaningful.

KOKOTA: The Islet of Hope

Climate Category

English, French – 29 mins

KOKOTA: The Islet of Hope follows the resilient people who are living on the front lines of climate change. This short film shows viewers how these unlikely heroes have attempted to suffer from a warming climate by reforesting their island.

Empathy*

Ecological Transition category

English, French, Spanish – 75 mins

At last there is a film that asks the right questions about the relationship between humanbeings and animals. Although Empathy* doesn’t show any shocking images, it addresses how animals are abused and aberrated in our way of life.

Bike vs. Cars

Energy category

English, French – 91mins

Bikes vs. Cars tells the story of a global crisis that we all need to talk about: climate, earth’s resources and cities that all have been consumed entirely by the cars. It follows activists and thinkers who are fighting for better planet.

Le Semeur (The Sower)

Biodiversity category

English, French – 77 mins

Le Semeur (The Sower) is apoetic and engaging portrait of a man putting his knowledge and passion to work in order to protect the biodiversity of vegetables.

The E-waste Tragedy

Pollution and Waste category

English – 52 mins, French – 86mins

Each year, developed countries throw away up to 50 million tons of electrical and electronic waste, including TVs, mobile phones, computers, and appliances. Can this toxic waste be stopped? How much longer are humanbeings going to ignore the problem? Watch The E-waste Tragedy to find out.

Futur d’espoir (The Hope of our Future)

Food Category

English, French – 94mins

This documentary deeply shows the difficulties of agriculture as well as explores the alternatives through the eyes of the film’s young director – a 17-year-old boy.