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Regardless of how accurate you consider the narrative to be, this film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand contains powerful images that are both beautiful and bleak:


Like Koyaanisquatsi, it provides a window into scenes around the world. However, Home ends on a more positive and hopeful note than its thematic predecessor.

For what it is worth, I found it to be a bit more balanced in at least one way than some discussions/pictorials related to this topic: it shows India, Japan, Botswana, Spain, Israel, and many other locations in addition to the United States. It points out the consumption of nations across the planet, rather than merely the Western world. It was also restrained in certain respects in that it stuck to its subject matter. It could have mentioned the feeding of parts of downer cattle to living livestock as supplements to feed, but it refrains (I know that from Deadly Feasts).

Nevertheless, it has an agenda, and I couldn't help noticing the number of garment producers that helped support the film: Gucci, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint-Laurent, among others. Even if sweatshop labor was not used to assemble the finished piece, it is very hard to obtain a mass-produced garment that doesn't have some material -- the cloth, a button, a zipper, etc. -- that was produced in a factory that does not adhere to what one might consider desirable environmental standards. Honestly, a serious commitment to point of origin labeling would help any number of industries -- food, textiles, construction, and more. I don't want to sound cynical, but their donation of support for a film like this is probably less expensive than reworking their global manufacturing processes to try to untangle the complicated web of transport and production.

Even if you prefer to mute the commentary for your own reasons, the visuals are vivid; the landscapes are majestic, and the colors are bold.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 13th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
I watched the first 20 minutes of it, and gave up. There were two reasons:

First, the narrative that you mention. There is a zealotry to environmentalism, and it's really unfortunate because it makes it difficult to cut through the bullshit and find facts.

Second, for all its HD glory, it's low-budget. It's all steady-cam and flyovers; it never brought you into the scenes it was showing you, and really lacked any intimacy. The thing it's so obviously imitating, Planet Earth, is a much more balanced, in-depth, and involving experience. But hey, it's not free on the Internet :)
Jun. 14th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
I'd like to see Planet Earth sometime.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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