Film Fest Movies

I’m late on this review but the movies may yet get a general release, or come out on DVD, so what does it matter? I went to three movies at this year’s NZ International Film Festival and each one left me choked up, not because they were sad, but because they made me reflect on how spectacular our planet is, and how wonderful certain lifestyles and personalities are, and yet how awful it is that we’re ruining the planet, while most people are living lives utterly devoid of either adventure or style.

This movie was the darling of the programme, having won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. The little girl was utterly beguiling, while the rough-and-ready island she inhabited off the coast of Louisiana was heartbreaking – in a good way. I’d love to live there a while. The whole theatre chuckled out loud when the little girl’s schoolteacher yelled her history lesson at the kids. Something like: “People used to live in caves. And sometimes big-ass animals would come and eat the cave people’s babies, but did you see the cave mamas sitting round feeling sorry for themselves? Hell no!”

Being drawn into this kind of world makes our neat society feel like chicanery. Aerial shots of blocks and blocks of identical suburban houses make me feel a bit queasy. Oil rigs make me angry. What can we do? Regress? No, we must find a new way forward.

This doco followed on nicely from Beasts. There was an inspirational, captivating protagonist, and there was sadness at the effect modern life is having on nature. Of course most sane people believe in global warming – you only have to see the charts showing natural fluctuations of carbon levels over millennia, compared to the unprecedented level right now, to understand the science behind it. The ice scenery in this movie would have been worth the ticket price alone, but the true story behind it was better than anything Hollywood could come up with.

James Balog is a legend. He went to incredible lengths to get footage to prove the glaciers are calving off in chunks the size of lower Manhattan. The time and money involved, not to mention the strain on his body, should motivate everyone to get off their ass to tell the powers that be that something’s gotta give. The oil barons need to stop chasing the ghost, and we need to switch to renewable energy asap: in our cars, our homes, and in our factories.

I was thinking this doc might be a bit of a light-weight let down after the previous two movies, but it wasn’t. What a gal!!! If the other two movies made me rue the fact the regular world is so reckless, this one made me mourn the Belle Epoque, the Roaring Twenties, the Swinging Sixties, and every other era that has had style and swagger – when people dressed flamboyantly, and led lives as perfectly delicious as a raspberry macaron. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris¬†touched a similar nerve and both films should be watched, and savored, and hopefully inspire us to seek the very best this moment in time has to offer.





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