documentaries committed to saving the planet

Welcome to pro-planet action movies. Several documentaries honoring environmental activists arrive on the big screen after having, for some, scoured the festivals – in particular Cannes where, during the 72e edition, in July, the ephemeral section Le Cinéma pour le climat was created, at the initiative of the general delegate, Thierry Frémaux. Thereby Bigger Than Us, by Flore Vasseur, who portrays young activists, made its world premiere on the Croisette and is released in theaters on September 22, at the same time asOnce you know by Emmanuel Cappellin, where the director goes to meet scientists and experts in degrowth.

Two other committed films will follow on September 29: the first, I Am Greta, by Nathan Grossman, traces the journey of Swedish Greta Thunberg, born in 2003, since her very first “school strike” denouncing the inaction of politicians in the face of global warming; the second, in the vein of autofiction, Green lung and red carpet, by Luc Marescot, tells the story of the director seeking to unite producers and film stars around a thriller about the tropical forest, inspired by the work of botanist Francis Hallé.

Without artistic pretension, these mainstream films have little to do with long-term, more discreet investigative works which have enjoyed critical success over the past decade: let us quote the poetic approach of Dominique Marchais, author of The time of graces (2010), The Continental Divide (2014), No man is an island (2018), or the powerful critique of “malforestation” by François-Xavier Drouet with The Time of the Forests (2018).

Concrete and positive actions

More eye-catching, Bigger Than Us chooses to put forward concrete, positive actions in order to arouse curiosity (or vocations) in the new generation. Before the pandemic, director and writer Flore Vasseur set out to meet young people involved in environmental or social causes: thus, since the age of 12, Indonesian Melati Wijsen has succeeded, with her sister, in mobilizing thousands of inhabitants against the invasion of plastic bags; on the border of Lebanon and Syria, Mohamad Al Jounde has created a school for displaced children in camps; in Uganda, Winnie Tushabe transmits permaculture to refugees so that they can survive on soils destroyed by pesticides … An operation plans to invite 100,000 young people aged 13 to 27 years to previews of the film.

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