11th Hour, The B-
Produced and narrated by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the DVD edition of this docu will be released April 8, 2008, and will include one featurette, a bonus hour with more than 60 minutes of extras exploring action plans for rescuing the planet.
Cannes Film Fest 2007 (Out of Competition)–Produced and Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, the new, timely documentary The 11th Hour describes the last moment when change is still possible. As co-written and Co-Directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners, the film explores how our lives interface and impact the earth's ecosystems, and what we can do to change that course.
Inevitable comparison will be made with the Al Gore Oscar-winning docu “Inconvenient Truth,” which made a splash last year, both ideologically and commercially, turning the work in to a must-see or event film. Interestingly, both docus received their world premieres at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, shown, like Michael Moore's “Sicko” this year, out of competition.
As a follow-up, “The 11th Hour” will suffer from those comparisons, not only because of Gore's stature and the fact that his docu was the first, but also due to the visual style, which was impressive in Gore's docu and is just serviceable in DiCaprio's production. Less imaginative than An Inconvenient Truth, the new docu is also less likely to reach the unconverted
Even so, “The 11th Hour” needs to be seen, preferably on the big screen, for it offers a wealth of data and thematically goes beyond “Inconvenient Truth” to encompass a wider range of socio-ecological issues. The film features dialogues with experts from all over the world, including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking (who was himself the subject of a good documentary, “Brief History of Time”), former head of the CIA R. James Woolsey, and design experts William McDonough and Bruce Mau, New York Times science reporter Andy Revkin. They are joined by over 50 leading scientists, thinkers and leaders who present the facts and discuss the most important issues that face our planetand everyday lives.
Densely detailed, docu packs a lot of useful information, which is presented in accessible terms. Drought. Famine. Severe flooding. Record rainfall. Hurricanes. Acid rain. The highest average temperatures in recorded history. Catastrophe is reported on the nightly news as isolated incidents. But are these incidents isolated, or pieces of a larger global puzzle that could unlock humanity's future
Shaped by oceans and rainforests that generate oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, govern climate, weather and temperature, the planet earth is under siege. The alchemy of natural greenhouse gases that enables life has been augmented with chemicals from tail pipes and smoke stacks. For every truckload of product produced, many more truckloads of waste are created. The oceans have been flooded with mercury, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals. The forests are disappearing, deserts are widening, the arctic sea ice is melting, the permafrost has begun to crack. The earth has grown warmer. Not since a meteor hit the planet 55 million years ago have so many forms of life gone extinct.
But are these changes to the earth permanent Or are they puzzle pieces that, if connected, reveal a larger story that needs to be told–a human story that takes into account who we are and the state of our relationship to this planet. The premise, that we are in an environmental age whether we like it or not, and that we are rapidly poisoning our planet and ourselves to death, should cause alarm to any rational and thinking individual.
Resulting work is really a treasure trove of facts, figures, statistics, and forecasts, but also more general philosophical intellectual ideas about the various implications of all kinds of ecological and environmental issues: Deforestation, pollution of both water and air, global warming, fossil fuel dependency.
Physicist Hawking warns of sustained global warming as a result of the burning of fossil fuel, drought, deforestation, warming seas, melting ice caps and so on. We dont know where the global warming will stop, the author says, but the worst-case scenario is that Earth would become like its sister planet, Venus, with a temperature of 250 centigrade, and raining sulfuric acid.
The data and their presentational style are uneven. One of the films most compelling segments deals with effectiveness of forests, which are vanishing at an alarming rate verging on disaster. Hence, Tziporah Berman, program director for ForestEthics observes that forests help prevent soil erosion and mudslides, serving as home to wildlife and medicinal plants, not to mention their more aesthetic and recreational functions.
The noted architects and designers Bruce Mau and John Todd discuss building structures that mimic trees ability to access energy sources, recycle waste and live in harmony with their surroundings.
You could fault the docu for its dependence on talking heads and on the way the interviews were conducted and shot, but what's good about “The 11th Hour” is that ultimately, it's positive work in the sense of offering remedies of how to stop the impending catastrophes by radically changing our routine lifestyles.
The directors remind us that, in the history of the planet, humanity's time on earth has been short but powerful. The human drive to ensure its own survival and quality of life has revolutionized industry, science, nutrition and medicine. But it has also effected unprecedented changes in the delicate balance that makes life on earth possible.
Some changes, such as use energy-efficient light bulbs, or recycling (which has been around for at least a decade) sound minor, but the docu suggests that if each individual begins implementing those changes, the end result will be collective and broader change.
Like most activism-oriented docus, “The 11th Hour” is also a call to arms, and the creators urge the viewers to rethink their most “minor” details of their lifestyles, check out their website (www.11thhourfilm.com), discuss the issues and spread around the gospel, join social-ecological movements on a regional and/or national level.
Directors, co-writers (and sisters) Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners previously collaborated with DiCaprio on two environmental shorts (“Global Warning,” “Water Planet”) before making this significant feature-length documentary.
related article 1: 11th Hour's Directors on their Hot Docu.
related article 2: The Departed: Scorsese on his Brilliant Film.
related article 3: Inconvenient Truth, An.
Leave a Reply
- Hangover Part III
- Blood Ties
- Inside Llewyn Davis: Top Coens, Cannes Highlight
- Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of Plains Indian)
- Fast & Furious 6: Thrilling Joyride
- Angelina Jolie Double Mastectomy–Talk of Cannes Film Fest
- Bling Ring, The
- Before Midnight: Hawke and Delpie at Mid-Age
- Stories We Tell
- Great Gatsby: Luhrmann’s Jazzy Spectacle
- Star Trek into Darkness: Solid Sequel