Opening September 19, 2019
Directed by: Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky
Writing credits: Jennifer Baichwal
Principal actors: Documentary: Alicia Vikander
This is the final film in a trilogy of documentaries that includes Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013) about the changing Planet Earth. The content of this film is drawn from the idea that humankind has so profoundly changed the Earth that we are now in a new epoch, the Anthropocene Epoch, an epoch that began in the mid-twentieth century that is defined by lasting human impact.
The Anthropocene Working Group has been studying human impact for almost ten years to support their position that the Earth has left the 11,700-year-old Holocene Epoch. This film documents many examples of human activity that have dramatically changed the Earth perhaps forever. For instance, China has built concrete walls along 60% of the mainland coast. Oil refineries spread for miles across Texas and Russia, Lithium evaporation ponds stretch across the Atacama Desert of South America. Mountains of plastics, acres of devastated underwater reefs, and piles of elephant ivory tusks are all stark imagines of what humans have done to the Earth. These extraordinary images presented from the ground up are shown without opinion: this is not a tree-hugger, save-the-environment kind of movie. Instead, it is just a vivid, vibrant, artful collection of facts on film. And the facts are quite damning.
Take a look at all three films and form your own opinion. Better yet, invite your family and friends to join you since we are all in part responsible for changing Planet Earth. (Mary W.)