Title: Global Warming, Water Planet
Release Date: 2005
Nationality and Language: USA, English
Running time: various
MPAA Rating: G
Distributor and Production Company: Leonardo Di Caprio
Director; Writer: Leonardo Di Caprio
Producer: Doyle Brunson assists
Technical: Web delivered, feature planned
Relevance to DOASKDOTELL site: global warming, freedom
Leonardo Di Caprio appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show on Oct 27 2005 and mentioned the fact that he is making a film called Global Warming.
Mr. Di Caprio has two short films available on the Web for those with high speed access. These are “Global Warming” and “Water Planet” Some of the material comes from a book (2004, Crown and Three Rivers) by Thom Hartmann: The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It’s Too Late.
On the show, Di Caprio and a Prof. Oppenheimer from Princeton both provided evidence supporting the hypothesis that global warming is cause by human activity, most of all the consumption of fossil fuels, some of which (oil) could become finite in supply. They recommended that consumers be encouraged to purchase energy efficient products ranging from cars (hybrids) to light bulbs (compact fluorescent bulbs). They did not call for personal sacrifice or cultural redirection, as have some other moralists. A film “Syriana” from WB will further develop the oil shortage issue.
“Water planet” maintains that most fresh unpolluted water is being lost, and that creating electricity from water, while renewable, can displace millions. The film maintains that access to unpolluted water is a fundamental right.
The web link for these films is http://www.leonardodicaprio.org/
Mr. Di Caprio plans a full length feature documentary that may bear the same name, with the assistance of Doyle Brunson. A review will be posted as soon as it is available.
On Dec 4, 2006 Leonardo Wilhelm Di Caprio appeared on Oprah Winfrey and mentioned his new film, to be called 11th Hour, which will be reviewed here when available. My blog link for it is this.
As of May 20, 2007, di Caprio's new film (11th Hour) is reported to have been shown at the Cannes Film Festival.
We are indeed approaching the 11th Hour with positive feedback and tipping points, according to Steve Connor of Independent Online, at this link (12/29/2006). "Our worst fears are exceeded by reality." Also, check out the Accu Weather blog.
Movie review link from Aug. 28: http://billsmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2007/08/leonardo-di-caprios-11th-hour.html It is, as the film says, a problem of "culture".
Koyaanisqatsai ("Life out of Balance", 1982, Island Alive, dir. Godfrey Reggio, prod. Francis Ford Coppola, music by Philip Glass, 82 min) was a famous film giving images of the world, both natural and artificial, to a repetitious, hypnotic music score. Anticipates the environmental films of this decade, but was an art house favorite in the 80s. The gay disco "Town DC" in Washington plays some of this film on the wall behind the bar, There was a similar film shown at the Amsterdam science museum NEMO (made in Montpelier, France) about bees and pollination with French impressionistic music; I have lost the name (just "Bees"?). Does someone know?
Kilowatt Ours (2006, ILoveMountains, about 10:30) is a set of two videos available at http://www.ilovemountains.org, referenced on DiCaprio's site. The exact url is this. The longer video documents the mountaintop removal stripmining technique, where explosives and draglines ("Big Muskie") remove up to several hundred feet of ridge for successive seams of coal, particularly in southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. In 1972, I made a car trip through southwestern Virginia, along "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine," with an ex-roommate in which we saw similar mayhem, that has since been somewhat reclaimed. In 1971, I was almost arrested for trespassing for taking pictures along SH 93 in West Virginia between Mt. Storm and Davis. These incidents are documented in Chapter 3 of my first book. The film claims that over 450 mountaintops have been shaved and destroyed, with debris blocking streams and ruining property below. The owner of a property along Big Branch Creek. With the help of software called Google Earth, the group owning the site has mapped an online National Memorial for the Mountains. Because of Google's and similar software (often used on CNN and news broadcasts to show war zones) it is more difficult for companies to keep this kind of activity quiet. I recall hearing a radio broadcast from a Kentucky congressman in 1972, "In another generation, our beautiful mountains will be gone!" It's happening. The video also documents a group called Christians for the Mountains.
A stripmining accident in Western Maryland (Barton, MD), in April 2007, where a 125 foot highwall collapsed, is documented on this external blog.
Here is a blogger link on an Economist article (June 2007) about the scenic carnage of stripping.
In the last paragraph under footnote 0 at http://www.doaskdotell.com/content/wchap3.htm I have instructions as to how to view stripmines through Google maps with satellites. That will probably enhance in the future (you can also try downloading Google Earth and tinkering with it).
Mountain Top Removal (2007, Haw River, dir. Michael Cusack O’Connell, 74 min). Blogger.
Coal Country (2009, Liason/Evening Star, dir. Phyllis Geller, 85 min). Blogger.
Burning our Future: Coal in America (2008, Pop Twist, dir. Jim Novacek). Blogger
The Great Warming (2003, Universal Focus/Stonehaven/KrystalPlanet/Discovery/DiCaprio, dir.Judith Dwan Hallet, Canada, 83 min (120 min TV), G) has Alania Morisette and Keanu Reeves narrating a somewhat wandering documentary, shot mostly in digital video 1.85:1, all around the world, about the future of global warming. Di Caprio reportedly intends to rework this into an updated future in 2007 or 2008, and helped narrate the TV version. The material is similar to Al Gore's film (below) but not as detailed in numbers and charts. However, the film does show the attempt to convince Evangelical Christians to take up causes about the environment, and it proposes some modern technologies, such as new condominium designs in Montreal, and it explains the chemistry of the hydrogen fuel cell car (a good topic for high school science fair projects). Hydrogen is generated from carbon monoxide and water (and the carbon monoxide can be generated by heating carbon dioxide to the point that it is unstable; the movie explains the carbon cycle of earth well). It also proposes skyscraper panels in the desert to filter excess carbon dioxide out of the air.
National Geographic has a similar documentary in 2 parts (240 min), “Strange Days on Planet Earth,” narrated by Ed Norton. The point is made that more species can live on several separated continents than on one. There are many interesting segments, such as the destruction of homes in New Orleans by termites pre-Katrina. The second hour discusses global warming. For example, in Alaska sometimes winter is warming enough for occasional rain on the snow, resulting on crusted corn snow that cuts the caribou's feet and makes it hard from them to feed. There is a discussion of the evaporation of Lake Chad in Nigeria, the loss of the fishing business (with fisheries abandoned now on a desert -- reminding one of the film about Tanganyika below), and the dust added to the atmosphere. The last episodes focus on toxins, such as in Missouri where men, however outwardly normal, have less active sperm (according to university medical studies) because they are exposed to farm chemicals (the same chemicals cause hemaphroditism in amphibians).
Arctic Tale (2007, Paramount Classics / National Geographic, dir. Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robinson, 85 min, G) has Queen Latifah narrating the simultaneous stories of a female polar bear and of a female walrus, whose lives will cross. The movie develops the thesis that rapid warming in the high Canadian polar arctic is modifying the feeding patterns of the polar bears and other animals to the point that they cannot survive and will become extinct. At one point, the bear is swam to an island populated with walruses. A nearby male makes a kill, as an older walrus gives up her life to save a younger female. Later, the female refuses to let the male chase her off from sharing the kill. These are interesting presentations of mandatory altruistic behaviors in mammals. The bears seem to have almost human intelligence, born with bodies adapted for their environment. The walruses live in extended family groups in conditions of very great social intimacy. The song "We Are Family" gets played. At the end, grade school kids make recommendations to individuals to counter global warming, and some of them are not as easy, like giving up hot showers or hot laundry water. The credits contained many Eskimo names (with qq's in the spelling).
On April 18, 2006 PBS presented an interesting double-header: NOVA had "Dimming the Sun," explaining the theory of global dimming by reflectivity off of solid pollutants. This offsets global warming, so if solid particulate emissions are reduced without reducing carbon dioxide emissions, we could wind up with even more global warming. Particularly catastrophic would be the thawing of methane hydrates at the bottom of polar oceans, which would release methane and really cause the greenhouse effect to run away. Blogger discussion link.
In the few days when planes were grounded after September 11, 2001, the absence of jetliner contrails actually increased daily temperature range in the United States by two degrees.
This sixty minute film was followed by the special one-hour film "Journey to Planet Earth: State of the Planet's Wildlife," narrated by Matt Damon. The threat of a "sixth extinction" is explored, with pressures (from agriculture, consumption -- especially China -- in many areas of the world, such as the Amazon rain forest) and global warming on many species. The effort to restore the grizzly bear in the Big Blackfoot river vallye (site of "A River Runs Through It") is described.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006, Paramount Classics/Participant, dir. Davis Guggenheim, PG, 100 min) is Al Gore's well-announced film about global warming. The film is structured as a college lecture by the former Vice President, with many colorful maps, charts, and video and film clips. That shows that the lecture format for a documentary film can really work, if the argument is compelling. And it is. The biggest "truth" seems to be that carbon dioxide emissions has shot up exponentially in the past few decades, compared to all known history where climate variations can be tracked. The "differential calculus" part of his argument is actually the most disturbing of all of his arguments. He makes an analogy between this truth and a geographical one (the idea that once South America and Africa fit together), and then various "times changing" truths such as our gradual acceptance that cigarette smoking is extremely damaging to health. He goes into many scientific details, such as loop currents that keep Europe mild, and especially the grim possibility of widespread melting of Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. An interesting physical observation is the lakes that form in the ice, and eat through the ice, loosening it with moulins. The rough analogy is rain on the snow (raindrops pelting through a snow cap, with older snow taking longer to melt). Toward the end, Gore makes a lot of the fact that most people are in a position where they are paid to ignore "inconvenient truths" and say what the people who pay them and give them the words tell them to say. (The "We give you the words" problem.) He talks about Kyoto, and at the end we are wondering how much of this is really a political problem, and how much reflects back on our personal lifestyle choices. Would this be just a question of buying higher mileage (or "clean" such as electric) and smaller cars, or does it go deeper, giving up some freedom and autonomy. Can we engineer our way out of this? We need to solve this, and this could be the biggest problem we have ever faced. (Even new diseases like bird flu and AIDS are more likely to develop in a global warming environment.) Individualism and our sense of individual rights can be sent back into old tribal patterns if we lose the infrastructure that makes our modern idea of personal autonomy possible.
This point deserves another walkthrough. The film does have some pointed aerial shots. There is the Big Muskie dragline and then the Appalachian stripmine, all with mountaintop removal (it looks like Bryce Mountain in southern West Virginia), a kind of mutilation. There are a few graphic pictures of the flooding in New Orleans (with the bloody sunrise through smoke) right after Hurricane Katrina came through in Aug. 2005, the first pictures of Katrina in a commercial film. Gore goes on to point out that the rise in sea levels from the loss of glaciers could inundate most of lower Florida and lower Manhattan, including the World Trade Center memorial site. But it will also wipe out the livings space of tens of millions of poor people in India and Bangladesh. Katrina resulted in unprecedented calls for volunteerism (to the point that some people took in "refugees" into their own homes, even strangers), but imagine this on an international scale.
Yet conventional capitalistic society expects individuals to compete with each other, especially to protect and provide for their own families in an adversarial matter. At one point in the film, Gore reenacts the time in 1989 when his own son was critically injured, and goes on to make the point that we must face these environmental issues in order to leave our children a world suitable for them to live in. One could make that point about other issues (overexposure of children to media and especially violence and pornography). People who do not have children may feel immune from these pressures, and others may expect them to restrain themselves and make sacrifices for other people's kids. But having family makes it harder to remain objective. People are often pressured to see what others who depend upon them want them to see and say. It is hard to face major changes in the way we live in such a climate. On the other hand, the possibility that real hardships can come from "mother nature" make the case for family and social cohesion, as opposed to individual autonomy, even more compelling. The tragedy is that this is an issue we can do something about. But we must face the Inconvenient Truth.
CBS 60 Minutes (April 1, 2007; Aug. 19, 2007) on glaciers in Patagonia and Antarctica, and the extinction of penguins who cannot find krill under disappearing ice, here.
The Book, "An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It", officially authored by Al Gore, published by Rodale/Melcher Media, ISBN 1-59486-567-1, 328 pages, paper, large size, contains the maps and charts for careful study, as well as a sensational collection of photographs (amounting to a "filmstrip") and commentary. Retail is $21.95.
Al Gore’s second book is “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis”, published this fall (2009) by Modale/Melcher Media, with ISBN 978-1-59486-734-7, 414 pages, paper. It’s so illustrated that it is like a movie. Blogger.
The Oct 2007 National Geographic supplements Gore and Di Caprio on global warming; blogger here.
A National Geographic film "Ultimate Tsunami" (below) presented the idea that the risk of catastrophic landslide-based tsunamis increases in periods of global warming and higher sea levels. (See references below). This even raises the ironic question of using stripmining technologies (the evil practice for fossil fuels and coal) to reduce the risk of these slides in a few locations in the world.
Doug Struck, "On the Roof of Peru, Omens in the Ice," The Washington Post, July 29, 2006, describes the shrinkage of the Quelccaya Glacier above historic Inca Cuzco, which faces water rationing and an eventual threat to its existence if the glacier disappears. A Letter to the Editor for this day by Kenneth Green (Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute) reads bluntly: "the inconvenient truth is that greenhouse gas reduction is not simply a matter of plugging in compact fluorescent bulbs or driving hybrid cars--it's a matter of having the government impose controls over virtually all energy-related aspects of our daily lives."
A supporting website is http://www.climatecrisis.net/
On Sept 6, 2006, Seth Borenstein of the AP reported "New Climate Change 'Time Bomb' Detected: Permafrost frees more gases that trap heat." The idea that the Siberian permafrost (called yedoma) has been releasing methane and perhaps other hydrocarbons, which would accelerate the runaway greenhouse "Venusian" effect.
By the way, there is some astronomical evidence that the surface of Venus turned itself inside out about 500 million years ago. Possibly Venus might have had habitable temperatures more recently than we expect, and that a runaway catastrophe really happened there less than a billion years ago, after life had flourished.
In late April 2006 "CNN Presents" aired "Melting Point: Tracking the Global Warming Debate" with a lot of attention to gradual loss of coastal living spaces, and the fact that whole communities would have to be abandoned in Draconian fashion, through no fault of members of those communities, because of lifestyle habits of others. The green home of the Martin family in North Carolina, which actually sells solar power to utilities, was shown. The international politics of Kyoto was discussed.
On April 30, 2006 the young people at the Clarendon Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA presented a power-point filmstrip show on the environment, "For God's Creation," showing a lot of appealing upper Michigan Peninsula scenery before then showing trashing of the environment with toxic wastes from fossil fuels.
More from The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is discussed at this blog (Jan. 28, 2007).
The announcement from France on Feb 1, 2007, regarding a 90% probability that global warming results from human activity, and could raise average global temperatures by 11o F by 2100, and that we may be past the inflection or tipping point, is covered at this blog.
It should be mentioned that conservative Regnery Press (Washington DC) has published Christopher Homer's counter argument A Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism). A counter film directed by Martin Durkin, "The Great Global Warming Scandal" will be aired in Britain on Thursday March 8, 2007 (story by Al Webb in The Washington Times, March 6, 2007, link here.
Here is a blogger reference on the UN Security Council and global warming, also ethanol fuels and global warming (maybe not as effective as we had hoped).
Also March 4, 2007 blogger reference here. on a major international report.
In the fall of 2007, Time published a large illustrated paperback called Global Warming: The Causes, The Perils, The Solutions, The Actions, What You Can Do, discussed on blogger here.
Penguins of the Antarctic (2008, PBS, Nature) covers both chinstrap and Emperor penguins, and describes how global warming affects the mating migrations where males incubate the eggs. While the amount of ice decreases with the breakoffs, the areas where the penguins go are now actualky colder and higher and have more snow.
Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006, Sony Pictures Classics, dir. Chris Paine, 91 min, PG). Well, when Arnold Schwarzenegger took over as governor of California, he said no more movies, but he makes a cameo in this one. Actually, to answer the question, there are several "usual suspects" (not including Kevin Spacey). Government. The Oil Companies. The Auto Companies. Consumers. California Bard. There actually was an effective electric car in the 1920s, but the internal combustion engine took over quickly. California passed a law in 1990 requiring increasing percentages of cars sold there to have zero emissions, and by 1996 GM had a lease-only program for select consumers. Ford, Chrysler and Toyota followed suit, but no automaker would sell them. Furthermore, they would not re-lease them; instead, they sent them to recycling centers in Arizona to be shredded. Outside of California, the electric car got little public attention or promotion. A low maintenance vehicle with fewer engine parts offered less opportunity for service income and turnover. In the meantime, the car companies fought the legislation (which, like oil companies, they resented as it was perceived as threatening their long term profits), and their consumer advertising was, shall we say, not acceptable for an Apprentice. The pitch was that a car with a 60-mile range could meet 90% of driving needs, but that would mean many consumers would need a second car, especially small families. The government (Bush) in the meantime started pushing the hydrogen fuel cell hybrid, but the best solution is probably the gasoline-electric hybrid that is coming into use now, but slowly. It is possible to manufacture lithium hydride batteries that would give an electric car a 300 mile range.
The movie raises questions about personal business ethics and practices. Many people make a living speaking for public positions that they know are not in the public interest. Companies would buy up rivals to put them out of business.
John D. Stoll has a story in The Wall Street Journal Jan 8, 2007, "GM Unveils New Electric Vehicle Push" about a new E-Flex system.
Compare this to
Car of the Future (2008, PBS Nova) with the "Car Talk" guys, a documentary examining various non-fossil-fuel cars, especially hybrids. Blogger.
Hurricane on the Bayou (2007, MacGillivray-Freeman Films / The Weather Channel, dir. Greg MacGillivray, 40 min, G, Imax) presents the way the sediments in the Lousiana bayous south of New Orleans gradually had washed away in the decades before Hurricane Katrina. A major reason was the placing of levees on the Mississippi River quite far north in order to protect southern cotton plantations (especially after the horrible floods in Mississippi in 1927). The levees prevented the River from redepositing silt into the wetlands during the normal cyclical spring floods. A city that had been settled in the 18th Century when the environment was more stable started to sink below sea level and come under increasing threat to hurricanes. Betsy in 1965 and later Audrey would have been worse if they happened now. The dredging and levee-ing is presented as the major reason for the Katrina catastrophe, rather than global warming. The expansive cypress scenery of the pancake flat swamps and bogs (with a maze of little waterways) is quite breathtaking. The last half of the film shows Imax footage of the hurricane in progress in New Orleans, and then of the devastation and rescue attempts (including a mass scene inside the Superdome with, ironically, some corporate ads like ING flashing). The personal lives of the people, protecting family members and livelihoods (one is a jazz musician) are shown and this is quite moving. Should people be living below sea level now? Where can we draw the line on living in dangerous areas (like the flood-exposed areas in California, earthquakes, Florida, etc)? I have wondered if it would be more effective to rebuild some of the city on higher ground, north of the Lake if necessary, use pre-manufactured housing (which is very efficient to manufacture and which some companies -- even Wal-Mart -- can be very effective at delivering) and provide genuine assistance, rather than depend so much on ad hoc volunteer trips. Blogger.
Desert Bayou (2007, Cinema Libre / Third Coast, dir. Alex LeMay, 90 min) chronicles about 600 displaced evacuees from Hurricane Katrina to Utah. Blogger review.
Katrina's Children (2009, Ostrow / Shadow, dir. Laura Belsey, 83 min). 19 children share their grief and loss from the hurricane through art and interviews. Blogger review.
Johnstown Flood (2003, Inecom, narr. Richard Dreyfuss, dir. Mark Bussler, 65 min, PG) is a documentary, largely in black and white, about the May 31 1889 flood in Johnstown, PA when the South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club earthen dam built on the Little Conemaugh River above the town (where US 219 runs today) for a recreational fishing lake for the wealthy was encroached and burst during persistent heavy thunderstorms. For some years before the towns below had feared that the dam could fail, but the "wealthy and privileged" did not care and gave false reassurances (yet, the flood resulted in no litigation). Over 2200 people died. The film has many stills taken at the time, and recreates the disaster with the a sense of realism for the time. A similar film is shown at the Johnstown PA Flood Museum. Music for piano was composed for this film by Rivieri. Pennsylvania RR trains were trapped in the flood and swept away, with many deaths. What would the black-and-white section of the movie look like in Imax?
Birddog (1999, Angry Filmmaker, dir. Kelley Baker, 90 min, R) An intellectualloid used car dealer, in a parody of “Fargo”, gets into the case of the apparently deliberate flooding of Vanport, WA in 1948. Blogger.
The Epic of Black Gold (2006, Alliance-Atlantis and French National Television, dir. Jean-Pierre Beauerenaut and Yves Billon, 208 min, NR but sug PG, mostly digital video) is a four part documentary on the history of the oil business, the oil shocks of the 1970s (including the 1973 Arab oil embargo), and the "glass half empty" problem of oil production today. The generational "life cycle" of camel to space ship back to camel is suggested. Blogger entry here has more details.
A Crude Awakening (2007, Telepool / Netflix / Lava, dir. Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack, 83 min) starts with the inevitable epigram, "Oil is the excrement of the devil." It proceeds to develop "An Inconvenient Truth 2", that we are close to our monument peak on oil production, and the decline could be quick (in calculus terms, a highly negative derivative, or an upside-down parabola). Yet, the oil dependence has lasted long enough that most "ordinary people" can't see it. We often hear about dependence on foreign oil, and the film takes the position that the war in Iraq is to secure oil supplies. The United States, whose citizens consume a disproportionate percentage of oil, is accused of propping up corrupt governments in the Middle East that oppress real religion. One problem is that we pay a disproportionately low price for consuming a non-renewable resource, that was created by a fluke of geological history: massuve global warming about 150 million years ago (which could argue that global warming could occur naturally again). The standard of living and real income for the average Saudi Arabia person has been cut by a factor of four since the 1970s. The film goes through the alternative for oil, and finds nothing that can be produced economically without expending more fossil fuels. Solar sounds like the best chance. But the world may be able to support a population of only about 2 billion a century from now.
Toward the end, the film makes a grim speculation that a couple generations from now, people with ordinary incomes will not be able or allowed to drive cars or fly on airplanes. This certainly plays against the moral and family values arguments. Oil provided the personal mobility that enabled someone like me to make the "escape velocity" from more patriarchal family values, so I could live productively on my own terms. Future generations might not have this option! On the other hand, the world might be overpopulated. Yet, we also debate longer life spans for the elderly, and the idea that we don't have enough children to support them. Now, we may not have enough natural resources to support the longer lives, either, according to this film. Quite a conundrum.
There is a mathematical observation. Oil discoveries, oil production, and oil consumption are all bell-shaped curves with the same areas by integral calculus, because the represent the same oil. But they can be spaced decades apart.
The DVD includes lengthy interviews with Colin Campbell, Matthew Simmons, Fadhil Chalaki, David L. Goodstein. It also contains an extra chapter that shows that developing countries dependent on oil resources do not do as well as non-oil countries that depend on human capital.
John Stossel debunked the idea that ethanol can replace oil on a 20-20 segment in May, 2007, since it takes almost as much energy to produce ethanol as the gasoline it saves. Furthermore, gasohol is hard on engine gaskets. But Brazil has indeed invested in sugar cane ethanol because of enormous amount of suitable land for it.
See also CNN "We Were Warned" review links below.
Visit my blogger entry on "inconvenient truths 1 and 2" here.
See also link to History Channel's "Oil Apocalypse" below.
The June 2008 National Geographic has an article by Paul Roberts, "Tapped Out," discussed here.
Fuel (2009, Magnolia/Open/Blue Water, dir. Josh Tickell, 111 min, PG, Australia) has a handsome young Aussie engineer in his Veggie Van promoting biofuels and the diesel engine, while exposing peak oil. Blogger. Tickell becomes his own movie star (with Woody Harrelson).
Crude: The Real Price of Oil (2009, First Run Features, dir. Joe Berlinger, 104 min). Chevron/Texaco face litigation in Ecuador over an environmental catastrophe in the Amazon. Blogger.
Eureka (2007, Royal Dutch Shell, Netherlands, G, 9 min) is a docudrama explaining how snake-well oil drilling was developed because of a Dutch teenager's "idea". Blogger entry here.
Manufactured Landscapes (2007, Zeitgeist / Foundry, dir. Jennifer Baichwal, photographed by Edward Burtynsky, 90 min, NR but sug PG-13, Canada / China) is a stunning documentary about the alteration of the environment in the third world, esp. China, by huge low-wage factory operations, dams, strip mining, and especially export of toxic waste, and the dependence of the rest of the world on China's appetite, which could provide a political and moral unraveling. Blogger entry is here.
The National Archives participated in March 2008 with the DC Environmental Film Festival, with a program "New Deal on Film." There was an underlying theme that industry changed its ways in the 1930s to counter erosion (both wind with the Dust Bowl and rain on slopes in the East, leading to contour plowing). Four of the films were "The Plow that Broke the Plains" (1936) "The River" (1937) "Power to the Land" (1939, RKO Radio) and "The Land" (1942). The first two of these films had orchestral suites by Virgil Thomson. See details on Blogger.
Out of Balance: ExxonMobil's Impact on Climate Change (2007, Cinequest, dir. Tom Jackson, 65 min) presents a case against ExxonMobil 's behavior in the global warming debate. Blogger discussion here.
Radiant City (2006, Koch Lorber, dir. Jim Brown and Gary Burns, 86 min, Canada) is a whimsical examination or suburbanization and suburban "values". Blogger.
Driving Greener (2008, dir. Brian Palmer, 12 min, G) is a short film on how to improve gasoline mileage. Blogger review.
Holes in Heaven? H.A.A.R.P and Advances in Tesla Technology (1998, UFOTV / New Science Ideas, dir. Wendy Robbins, narr. Martin Sheen, 53 min, Home Pages HAARP Alaska) examines the U.S. military's High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, based on ideas imagined by Nikola Tesla as far back as 1912 when he imagined splitting the Earth in two. Here the issue is bombarding the ionosphere with enormous radio waves, causing it to separate, sometimes release energy in enormous bolts to the ground, possibly cause earth quakes. Oil companies use similar technology in looking for oil and gas. At one time, ARCO wanted to find a way to market all the natural gas on the North Slope. Much of this technology was developed in the 80s in conjunction with Star Wars. There is some footage of Hiroshima and of the H-bomb tests in the Pacific in the early 50s, and statements by G-men that atomic energy tests won't start a chain reaction to destroy the planet or blow a hole in the oceans.
Saved by the Sun (2007, PBS Nova) examines the progress of solar energy in the US and Germany. Blogger.
The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream (2004, Electric Wallpaper, directed by Gregory Greene, 80 min, sug. PG-13) examines suburbanization and its collision course with permanent energy shortage. Blogger discussion. Includes two shorts: "In the Suburbs" (1957), from Redbook; "Destination Earth" (1956) from the American Petroleum Institute, a whimsical animated look at consumer lifestyles by Martians.
Escape from Suburbia (2008, Electric Wallpaper, dir. Gregory Greene, 94 min, PG) is the sequel. It shows people returning for the country or adapting the city for new lifestyles. See blogger link above.
Flow: For Love of Water (2008, Oscilloscope, dir. Irena Salina) about water resources, pollution, and eventual shortages, and exploitation by European companies like Suez, Thames and Vivendi. Blogger discussion.
I.O.U.S.A. (2008, Roadside Attractions / Agora, dir. Patrick Creadon, 85 min), a kind of financial and even social "inconvenient truth." Blogger review.
Heat (PBS Frontline, wr dir. Martin Smith, 110 min) examines progress against global warming. Blogger discussion.
Deep Sea (2006, Warner Bros., dir. Howard Hall, 41 min) Imax 3-D film about the underwater ecosystem, narrated by Jonny Depp and Kate Winslet. Blogger.
For a discussion of Jonah Soderberg 's "The Planet" (Swedish Film, 2007), go here and follow the link for the DC Environmental Film Festival.
Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976, Cinema 5 / PBS, dir. Barbara Kopple) traces a coal miner's strike in Kentucky. Blogger.
Extreme Ice Revealed (2009, PBS/Nova) a photographer investigates the melting of glaciers. Blogger.
Bonecrusher (2008, Whitebrain, dir. Mike Fountain), a documentary about a SW Virginia coal mining family. Blogger.
Earth (2008, Walt Disney Pictures, dir. Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield), a theatrical version of material from BBC's "Planet Earth" Blogger.
Food, Inc. (2009, Magnolia / RiverRoad / Participant, dir. Robert Kenner) Blogger.
The Informant! (2009, Warner Bros./Participant, dir. Steven Soderbergh). Matt Damon had to get fat to play the role of a dubious informant chasing down price fixing in America’s food industry. Blogger.
The Cove (2009, LionsGate/Roadside Attractions, dir. Louie Psihoyos, wr. Mark Monroe, 93 min, PG-13, Japan) is a documentary about abusive dolphin hunting in a cove near Taijii, Japan. Blogger.
The End of the Line (2009, NatGeo, dir. Rupert Muray, UK, 82 min) about overfishing. Blogger.
Poisoned Waters (2009, PBS Frontline, 110 min) examines water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, and property rights and even eminent domain and zoning. Blogger.
Clean?Coal (2009, dir. Joan Murray, 4 min)
Polaris (2009, dir. Chirs Linder, Bob Sacha and Maisie Crow, 10 min) scientists study Siberian permafrost and global warming.
Green Belt (“Cordao Verde”, 2009, dir. Hiroatsu Suzuki and Rossana Torres, 33 min, Portugal) , rural life on NW coast of the country.
Frederic Back: Nature Above All (2009, dir. Phil Comaeau, Quebec, 25 min). The four films above, blogger reference.
The Man Who Planted Trees (1987, 30 min); Crac! (1981) both directed Frederic Back. Blogger.
Bhutan: The Kingdom of Happiness (2009, dir. Dara Padwo-Audick, 30 min). Both films reviewed here on blogger.
Climate of Change (2010, Tribeca/Participant, dir. Brian Hill, 85 min) Blogger. A lot more on mountaintop removal.
Crash: A Tale of Two Species (2010, PBS, dir. Allison Argo) about the horseshoe crab and red knot, blogger.
Metropia (2010, Tribeca, dir. Tarik Saleh, story and screenplay by Fredrik Eden, Sweden, 87 min, R). In a world past peak oil, European governments have connected their metros with underground railroads where they can spy on everyone who uses a special shampoo. Animated. Weird. Blogger.
Blue Vinyl: The World’s First Toxic Comedy (2002, New Video/Docurama, dir. Julie Helfand & Daniel Gold) with “Ek Velt: At the End of the World”; “Animating Blue Vinyl”; “Habitat for Humanity”; “Carnivale”; “Let the Consumer Rule”, Blogger.
Cool It (2010, Roadside Attractions, dir. Ondi Timoner) Biography and exposition of environmental skeptic Bjorn Lomborg. Blogger.
Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World (2010, Universal/Rogue/NBC Dateline/Balcony/Strand) Prince Charles film on the environment. Blogger.
Running the Sahara (2008, Nehmt, dir. James Moll, narr. Matt Damon. Blogger.
Related reviews:. Darwin's Nightmare Thank You for Smoking Various TV documentaries about earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis ("Ultimate Tsunami"); Ice Age; When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts The Ground Truth The Future of Food (moved!) Black Gold CNN: We Were Warned: Out of Gas (or blogger entry) Rough Science 1 (glacier scene); Planet in Peril A Global Warning Mega Disasters: Oil Apocalypse Book: Matthew R. Simmons: Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Oil Shock and the World Economy Six Degrees Can Change the World Naked Science: Glacier Melt The Human Footprint California: The Big Energy Gamble, Planet Earth (BBC), Journey to Planet Earth,
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Email me at Jboushka@aol.com