When Ricciotto Cuando called cinema the seventh art, extrapolating on Hegel’s five arts, he couldn’t have contemplated how big the medium would become. Films have so abundantly populated it, that it’s almost impossible to imagine the modern human culture without them.
When we talk about films on environment, there are the big-budget disaster films, made for mindless consumption. There is also a league of films that don’t end the dialogue with the rolling of end credits. Here are three documentaries and a feature film to get you thinking seriously about climate change (listed in the prescribed order of viewing).
David Guggenheim, who has also directed “He Named Me Malala”, made the documentary in 2005 featuring the former US vice-president and environmentalist, Al Gore. The film describes the science behind climate change, in a way that is engages the mind and replaces skepticism with a feeling of plausibility. As it was released in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, it also makes a solid point about the loss of life which directly results from global warming.
Before the flood
Produced, co-directed, and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, this documentary presents the looming threat of world-wide climate change, a decade after An Inconvenient Truth, with an immediacy that is frightening and awakening at the same time. The film describes how the world has already seen major irreversible changes due to global warming, and how the underdeveloped areas are the most affected.
It also serves as a conscience for the USA, one of the major carbon dioxide emitters, shedding light on how major American oil corporations are funding climate change denial. Before the Flood necessitates a watch especially in light of United States’ planned exit from the crucial Paris deal.
This Andrei Tarkovsky film is a masterpiece of cinema. Ordinarily, this film wouldn’t be considered an environment film, but it features in this list because of the reasons that follow. Firstly, it shows a dystopian landscape, corroded to an uninhabitable state by factories and power plants. Secondly, the only place that is “beautiful” is heavily guarded by authorities, out of reach for law-abiding citizens. Thirdly, it has some interesting arguments about hope and human greed. Finally, it coincidentally predicted the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, with an unsettling degree of detail.
The film is significant because it paints a practically accurate future, as in, how our world would be if humanity’s disruptive trajectory continues. It deserves a watch if you know about Fukushima. The film’s plot is adapted from the novel Roadside Picnic. You can freely watch the film on the Mosfilm official youtube channel.
Time to Choose
With Time to Choose, the Academy Award winning filmmaker, Charles Ferguson brings optimism to the climate change argument. Oscar Isaac briefly narrates the crisis, then shifting the focus to solutions that can be implemented with the technologies available today.