Last night I went to see Interdependence, an environmental film in eleven parts. It is a collection of short films that explore environmental themes around the topics of air, water, and earth.
When I watched one part it reminded me of Les Vacances de Mr Hulot, a french film from 1953. It looks at a dystopian vision of the future where people go to the zoo to see animals on screens and inflatable balloons serve as sea mammals. At one point everyone puts on a gas mask because of the pollution.
The theme of polluted air is in two other short films. Olmo, is about a grandfather who told his son about a tree he planted as a child. At the end of this segment, we see him go up to it. The notion of planting a tree as a child and going to see it as an adult is a good one.
Megha’s Divorce also explores the theme of air pollution but this time in Italy. A city is so polluted that a woman wants to divorce her husband, so that she may take her son to a city that is less polluted. In conclusion, the judge states that they have a six-month suspension of divorce, so that people may stop polluting as much, and see if things improve.
I often hear that we should replace the car with buses and public transport but this is a flawed solution. A better solution is for people to walk if it is within walking distance, or take a bike if it is not. Too often the conversation focuses on one machine being replaced by another. The conversation does not see the opportunity presented by our own legs, for walking and cycling.
Although it wasn’t the aim I liked The Hungry Seagull for the way shots were framed. I liked the shot where we are behind a seagull chick, looking out to sea. In Natural History documentaries by the BBC, the voice-over usually tells us this. For once we see it, feeling empathy for the seagull waiting to feed.
Qurut explores the notion that if we are not careful we will find that ingredients are missing for specific recipes. When I listened to this podcast episode it spoke about replacing animal meat with lab-grown meat and two themes came to mind. The first one is related to jobs. How many jobs, traditions, and species of cattle would be lost if we stopped the raising of cattle. How would the production of milk for cheese, milk and ice cream change? Simultaneously how would the rural landscape of so many nations change if we stopped eating specific animals?
When a species that was bred by man is no longer needed it dies out, as various breeds of cattle did, after either the First or Second World War as they shifted from using animals to do work to using machines.
At the end of the screening someone when people were speaking after the film someone asked “How can we get more people to see this film?” and my first thought was that it would be easy to share this on YouTube but another way to share these films would be as video podcasts. Each podcast could include a panel discussion to discuss the themes explored by each individual film. School children, University students and people with an interest in the topics could watch each episode and develop their understanding of each theme.
Imagine for example that Olmo is combined with a discussion about Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees, imagine that A Sunny day is used to discuss plastic pollution and extinction. Imagine that Qurut is used to discuss sustainability.