I started compiling a list of films that I liked about the environment and those that raised questions about the way society is heading at the moment. Surprisingly, there are hundreds worth seeing, but a couple really stood out and I thought we may make this a bit of an ongoing list and your favorites are welcome too.
‘I.O.U.S.A.’ (Dir.: Patrick Creadon, 2008)
At Sundance 2008, I.O.U.S.A. premiered and this doco neatly packages the USA national debt and talks about the waste that has been an ongoing feature of the country’ life and government in the twentieth century, a time that should have been a golden age. The country is willing to live in debt.
All info is at – www.iousathemovie.com
‘Who killed the electric car?’ (Dir.: Chris Paine, 2006)
Looks at the destruction of the EV1 project car that was loved by all who drove it and seemed like an easy future for automobiles. I loved this film despite the start being extremely annoying and pretentious so hang in there!
All info is at – www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com
‘An Inconvenient Truth’ (Dir.: David Guggenheim, 2006)
A documentary on Al Gore’s campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.
Al Gore’s famous film which is very watchable.
All info is at – www.climatecrisis.net
‘Silkwood’ (Dir.: Mike Nicholls, 1983)
The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant. Meryl Streep is excellent in this film written by Nora Ephron.
More info at – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086312/
‘Safe’ (Dir.: Todd Haynes, 1995)
Safe stars Julianne Moore and is about chemical allergies and 20th Century disease and is quite a challenging film, turgidly slow but scary all the same.
You can read more details here – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114323/
‘Baraka’ (Dir. Jean-Paul Colleyn, Victoria Ebin 1998)
Elegy on environmental themes.
Info found here – www.spiritofbaraka.com/baraka
‘Addicted to Oil’ (TV) (Dir. Kenneth Levis, 2006 Thomas L. Fiedman reporting for Discovery)
‘Black Diamonds: Mountaintop removal and the fight for Colafield justice.’ (Dir. Catherine Pancake 2006)
Black Diamonds charts the on-going story of citizen efforts to curb or stop large scale coal surface mining in Appalachian states.
Details here – www.blackdiamondsmovie.com
‘Charcoal traffic and solar cooking in Bender Bayla’ (Dir.: Nathan Collett 2008)
A film about environmental degradation due to charcoal production that threatens the Somali pastoral way of life. www.charcoaltraffic.com
Without trees, there is no life for animals or pastoralists in the fragile Somali landscape. Out of this crisis, Somalis have an opportunity to switch to sun power using solar cookers. If you have ever wondered why there are so many deserts in the world, this may answer at least part of the question. Can it be reversed?
‘Whale Rider’ (Dir. Niki Caro 2002)
NZ film that shows the bond between a girl and the whale while exploring Maori culture. An emotional and intriguing way to introduce environmental issues.
‘Sustainable Table – What’s On Your Plate?’ (Dir. Mischa Hedges 2006)
The standard methods of food production are neither environmental nor good for human health. Are there alternatives to the current agricultural system? This documentary takes a look at the food you eat, how it is produced, and how things could be improved. This is the Ed Begley doc that is so often pilloried in talk shows. But it raises great points.
This is the list for now but there are hundreds of relevant films and documentaries made on environmental themes. This is not necessarily my list of ‘favourites’ and we invite you to add in yours! These are just the first ones I thought of.