44 Films: Film 2 of 44: "Home" (2009)
Film 2 of 44:
Directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Home starts off like an episode of Planet Earth. Gorgeous aerial footage rolls calmly under us, as thought-provoking prose about the planet's origins is narrated, by Glenn Close no less. As we delve deeper into the miracles that made life on earth possible, man appears, and the narrative turns, as it should, into something more ominous. In summary, the planet is in danger, and man is responsible.
Descriptors of this film may include preachy, damning, dogmatic and condescending. This is understandable. In this story, Earth is the good guy, the villain is you, and there is no happy ending. The wrist-slapping is incessant; more frequent than Al Gore's (better received) An Inconvenient Truth, and devoid of its beguiling charm. As the (now grim, still aerial) footage continues to play out, we're pelted with sternly-stated statistics, all spelling out what our insatiable involvement in industry, food, commerce, leisure, transport, and war is doing to earth's delicate equilibrium. Words used in the narration include 'cataclysm', 'catastrophic' and 'climactic time bomb'. And in case you were half-watching, the grim data is summarised in stark black and white slides towards the end, to the sound of woeful orchestra music.
Everything said in this film is true. Almost all of it is uncomfortable and inappropriate. The narrative turns around at the last minute, however, when Glenn Close utters the arresting mantra, "It's too late to be a pessimist". What follows are positive accounts of individuals, governments and communities turning the tide in simple and committed ways. Home slaps with one hand, and fist-bumps with another. This planet's woes are not restricted to country, race or economy. We're all complicit, and we're all capable.
Home was filmed in over 50 countries in 18 months. It has its faults, but they are more ideological than executional. Its fine intentions shine through. While Planet Earth is an encyclopaedic marvel, and Samsara is a meditative experience, Home is an indictment. One that is necessary, and seven years later, more urgent than ever.
The makers of Home lifted all copyrights, so it is available on YouTube in full, and in HD. Watch it below, after the jump.
'Home' screened last night at the weekly screening 'Dinner And A Movie'. Organiser Azza Satti hosts the event every Tuesday evening at the Alchemist Bar in Westlands, curating and showing fine films from around the world. Drop by at 8pm, grab a drink and a pizza, and enjoy.
See you tomorrow!