Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Films for a Blue Planet

Ah Earth Day, when Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore and Mother Nature all join hands and dance the dance of melting ice caps, global warming and drinking our coffee in reusable travel mugs.
Let's be honest, with all the green stuff being pushed at us, sometimes Earth Day can feel a little ... artificial.
So if you're looking for some real inspiration, a trip to the video store might be in order...

(As long as you bus, bike or walk there.)

I'm reviewing the new Disneynature film Earth on CBC Radio today. (Dumbed down and Disney-fied but boy it sure is pretty.)

And I'm also offering a list of alternatives. Some green themed movies to get you in the right frame of mind.

So without further ado here are four Earth-friendly films.

Manufactured Landscapes

Canadian Photographer Edward Burtynsky takes photos that are uniquely human and yet alien at the same time. In the documentary Manufactured Landscapes Burtynsky follows the trail of our stuff.
From our marble quarries and mines to tire dumps with mountain of unrecycable black rubber. Nickle tailing mines where a sickly red sea of lava appears to cut across a black empty moonscape. The images are as poetic as they are disturbing. And when you see what happens to junked computer parts in China you'll think twice about putting your monitor on the curb.


A year in the life of meadow somewhere on Earth. The story is told through amazing marco photography where caterpillars are the size of water buffaloes and falling raindrops burst on the ground like cannon shells. The visuals take the everyday events of insects and give them a heroic narrative. This is movie where you cheer for the dung that's a shift in perspective.

Princess Mononokee

One of my favs is actually an animated movie but this is NOT for kids.
Princess Mononoke is a film by Japan's master animator Miyazaki
Set in feudal Japan the movie tells the tale of a princess raised by wolves.
She and her furry friends are fighting off the villagers from an iron mine who want to raze the forest.
No Disney movie, this is a ful- blooded tale of courage and human greed. And if you want to see what happens when Mother Nature turns on you, wait until the end where the forest spirit is unleashed as a headless pool of black bile. The Moral: Don't mess with the Earth Mama.


It's not that bad.

Alright this isn't the smartest environmental film..but it is fun and it has moments of sparse strong set pieces. (Tip of the hat to my buddy Derek who put me onto this one.)

In 1995 people gasped at the budget of 172 million.
People called it Fishtar, a soggy bomb...but in the name of reuse and recycle go back and give it a chance.

The idea of melting icecaps and world covered by water might have seemed like science fiction, but sadly it's not as laughable now.
And all the Earthiness aside...the movie is better than you thought.
A man, a girl and woman, alone on a boat, in world where soil is worth more than gold.
Yes it features Dennis Hopper as a crazy despot named The Decon...but the best stuff is without dialogue.
Shot in the real ocean, not a pool on a Hollywood parking lot, it's a great yarn, one of the better Kevin Costner hero movies and a nice change from re-watching An Inconvenient Truth.

(Got a green fav of your own? Add it in the comments!)

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