The Age of Stupid an exciting documentary about Climate Change

14 April 2009

This is a new and exciting documentary about Climate Change. Eschewing the lecture-type presentation of An Inconvenient Truth, it has a framing device of the last archivist on Earth in the year 2055, played by Peter Postlethwaite, reviewing the lifestyles that got us into this mess.

Using archive footage, and a series of engaging people who take us through the issues, we get a perspective on the problem. At first we meet the Fernand Pareau the oldest French alpine guide still working, who is taking an English family over a glacier which has shrunk so much that visitors need long ladders to actually get down onto it. The English family are featured later as the father Piers Guy is a wind-turbine designer frustrated by NIMBY activists in his home country.

We meet two children, refugees from Iraq living in Jordan, and see the poverty that is their existence, and a young Nigerian woman from the oil polluted Niger Delta who aspires to be a doctor.

But the most challenging person is Jeh Wadia, a charming Indian entrepreneur, who is setting up a budget airline in his own country, so that Indians can have the benefits of cheap air travel that we in the West have enjoyed. He is a mass of contradictions, highlighting our own problems. He volunteers at a project to help the poor and disadvantaged, but flies to it in a private jet.

Victim of Hurricane Katrina, and former oil geologist Alvin DuVernay shows us the empty space where his home, and all his possessions used to be. A genuine hero, during the hurricane, he went out in his boat and rescued many people from the floods. Yet he also spent his working life searching out the fossil fuel deposits which are responsible for the mess we are in. The aftermath of the Katrina catastrophe makes DuVernay call into question his values and philosophy, which is very moving.

Given the constraints on the production, which was made on a shoestring over five years, the film is a good one. It engages the viewer and will hopefully reach out to people who are not the usual green activists. The objective is to reach 250 million people, which seems crazily ambitious, but Franny Armstrong's previous film McLibel reached 25 million ……

The Age of Stupid is on general release around the UK. An activist's pack is also available from the website:
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