Muni on this:
How can media get the masses into a collective awareness about a certain situation?
More often than not, artists with a social statement turn to the medium of film. When movies take a turn for the environmental, it’s almost always as bad as a preachy religious reference: Repent, then go forth and execute your life mission! However, there’s no denying that some films remain lovable, if not mind-blowing, when delivering their stand and making you question yours. Pull out the popcorn and mull over these:
The Eleventh Hour
While The Inconvenient Truth was the film that went mainstream, this feature builds on a similar message with quick excerpts from interviews with Stephen Hawking, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Waari Mangathai among others. It also pays close attention to detail from footage that records both natural phenomena and the consequences of global warming. It’s also narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, who also produced and co-wrote the script, proving he’s more than just another handsome face.
Documentaries have never been this heart-wrenching. In the Academy Award-winning The Cove, director Louie Psihoyos dives into the depths of a pressing and depressing issue: whaling in Japan. The film chronicles advocate Ric O’Barry’s conversion and subsequent campaign to – as A.G. Saño expresses in his murals – free the dolphins. The feature reveals that, contrary to popular belief, there might not be enough fish in the sea – and there are certainly a lot less mammals,
Feisty, witty Erin Brockovich is in a fix: when she discovers that the water supply of Hinkley, California is contaminated with chromium, Pacific Gas and Electric – a company providing natural gas and electric resources for the area – might have something to do with it. That this film is biographical makes you fall in love with Miss Brockovich every bit as much as you fall in love with her passion. There is a reason why this piece got four Oscar nominations – with a cleverly written script and Julia Roberts, and you can’t go wrong.
Cloud Atlas is not so environmental as it is existential; the movie deals with connections between individuals across the fabric of time, following six different storylines. With subtle but telling social statements on consumerism, racism, and even homosexuality integrated into an action-packed sequence of escapades, murder mysteries, and a question on freedom, this film is a mental workout that leaves dots for the viewer to trace a maze from past to future, driving one to question what they would want their mark on the world to be.
Hayao Miyazaki’s 1997 animated classic, despite marketed towards kids, is no child’s play. When Prince Ashitaka is infested by a deadly virus, he embarks on the quest for a cure – but instead finds himself caught in a war between humans and the land’s old gods. The film notably humanizes industrialization, appointing social outcasts as factory employees. There are no true antagonists in Princess Mononoke, only characters with flaws in an intricate, elaborate masterpiece of Japanese cinema.
[Editor’s note: On April 22, Earth Day, multiple screenings are also going on around the world to view the climate change documentary “Thin Ice”. Learn more about the film here, and watch the FREE screening online from April 22-23 (or while it’s Earth Day in any part of the globe).]