Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Film : On A Ravaged Planet We Call Home

A drying well near Khudiala, Rajasthan, India.

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

There is a movie that absolutely took my breath away. Filmed in 60 countries all over the world, Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s “Home” takes us on an introspective visit to places familiar and isolated and lays out the staggering facts that shook the core of my senses. In spectacular vistas, this film becomes homage to mother Earth. This amazing tale is a cautionary tale – a cinematographic documentation of a seemingly grievous descent to the ultimate annihilation of this dear planet we call home. Though it seems more like an exquisite eulogy at times, this movie succeeds to entertain and inform its audience in a dramatic sweep of images that objectively inform – from the North Pole to Lagos, from Maldives to the Great Barrier Reef, from Colorado to Brazil, from Greenland to Bangladesh, from Indonesia to Siberia, from Nepal to the riches of Dubai and the mysteries of Easter Islands and the Stonehenge.

On view are aerial shots from far off places – in mind-sweeping vistas, each one as beautiful and inspiring.
Glenn Close languidly and hypnotically narrates amidst haunting music from yonder – African chants and drum taps, Rajasthani and Iberian guitar strains all come together to render a dirge and a lullaby to a ravaged earth.

Boats on the port of Mopti on the Niger River, Mali.

Home” is a full-length 2-hour documentary from France, on limited screening at the current 14th French Film Festival running from 5th to 14th of June, 2009 at the Shangri-La Mall in Mandaluyong City. It will screen again on June 10 – this Wednesday – at 3 PM. Free admission as long as you get there 2 hours early for your complementary ticket for each screening.

The last time I was swept off my feet from a film’s stark images was with
Tarsem Singh’sThe Fall” (same director of Jennifer Lopez’s “The Cell”) which was similarly filmed in exotic locales all over the world, but Tarsem’s narrative exposition was a bit too recondite and superfluous – too “out-there” – that it robs off its audience’s empathy. “Home” on the other hand pulls you somewhere intimate and leaves you in a trance with equal elements of guilt, regret, fascination and incredulity – like those amazingly beautiful salt bed formations of the Dead Sea – how anything can be so bewitchingly beautiful but sterile!
Al Gore’sAn Inconvenient Truth” was didactic and informative, but "Home" is the former's perfect companion piece which hits you at the core. It is an eye candy that packs a lot of wallop – it hits you like a billion bolts of lightning.
DO yourself a favor. Miss those other dinner dates, re-schedule your itinerary, and see the world through the eyes of director Yann Arthus-Bertrand and producer Luc Besson – and see this beautiful, albeit struggling earth; I promise - you have never seen your home this beautiful.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Caravan of dromedaries near Tichit, Mauritania. Camel parade...

Wheat harvest in Nepal.

Wheat harvest near Lamar, Colorado, USA. When machines replace manpower...

Sledding through frozen ice at the South Pole.

Iguazu Falls, Misiones Province, Argentina and Brazil.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.

The glacial river Tungnaa - a sprawling area of lakes and intertwined streams north-east of Landmannalaugar, Iceland.

Oasis in Palm Springs, California, US.

Solar-powered houses, Vauban district, Freiburg, Germany.

Graphic formation on frozen Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia.

Svartsengi geothermal power plant, near Grindavik, Rekjanes peninsula, Iceland.

Pantanal wetlands near Corumba, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.

Lakagigar volcanic system, Iceland.

Slums in Makoko, opposite Lagos Island in Lagos, Nigeria.

Landfill for oil residue from the Athabasca Oil Sands, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

Buffalos in the savannah of the Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Forest in Baffin, Canada.

Pedestrians in the Shibuya-ku district of Tokyo, Japan.

All images are culled from the aforementioned movie. We would like to recognize the exquisite aerial cinematography of Michael Brennan, Richard Brooks Burton and Peter Thomson. We shall try to feature Tarsem’s The Fall on our succeeding posts.

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