Last night 'Age of Stupid' had its North American premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and after watching I feel more called to action than I have in my 23 years on earth.
"I hope you enjoy the film- well not enjoy exactly- it's not a feel good movie but a feel inspired movie," director Franny Armstrong said before the show.
This is not your average documentary. Age of Stupid starts in the future- the year 2055 at a [computer generated] "digital archive" in Copenhagen. Our narrator is Pete Postlethwaite. Pete talks to the camera, directly to the audience, and takes us on a tour of our path to destruction of the earth, showing us news video clips of events that have led us to where we are now, and to where Pete is, alone in 2055.
The decision to make the film in the future, with all other footage and information completely real and and factual, only came after the first draft of the film was done, Armstrong said during q&a. In preview screenings the audience was confused and the film needed something to tie it all together. That's when the crew got the idea to set it in the future. The rest of the story is told (so effectively) by way of six peoples' intertwining stories- an idea stolen from the movie Traffic, directed by Steven Soderbergh. The six differet stories show us the reality- that "there is no right or wrong, or good or bad, we're all just people," said Armstrong. An Indian airplane entrepreneur who also wants to solve global poverty, an English man who develops wind turbine fields, and a Nigerian girl suffering the effects of a nearby Shell oil camp, are a few of the characters who help tell this story.
Some particular facts set us straight. If the whole world consumed as much as Americans, Canadians, and Australians, we would need 5 earths right now.
Destruction of railroads, death of electric cars, building cities where a car is a must...We don't have the right laws running our country because oil-business men have had an unhealthy impact on those who run our country. Now they run our country.
Energy is so ridiculously cheap that this has been an economical way to do things.
"It's like we had an unspoken collective pact to ignore climate change."
"Plenty of politicians are talking about it, but when it comes down to is, it's just not happening folks. It's just not happening," says one of the six.
"Why wouldn't we save ourselves if we had the chance?" asks Pete.
Quirky, humorous animation often mixes in to simply illustrate complex issues, like the idea that China is polluting so much right now, when Americans are the ones consuming what China manufactures, buying it in plastic, only to throw it away, where it sits in landfills...
The passion of the crew in portraying this important issue correctly, and
effectively, show through in the high quality of the film. Not
only is it inspiring but entertaining.
The San Francisco Film Society is right in saying, "Armstrong delivers a cautionary, pre-apocalyptic documentary that succeeds in piercing our complacency to a degree matched only, perhaps, by An Inconvenient Truth."
The Age of Stupid is the movie that goes with the Not Stupid campaign. The goal of the campaign is to get 250 million people to watch The Age of Stupid, which will be strategically released from now until September worldwide, and "to turn 250 million viewers into physical or virtual
activists, all focused on the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December
2009, where the successor to the Kyoto Treaty will be finalized and the
future of our species decided. Clearly the overall aim is to prevent
runaway climate change and the deaths of hundreds of millions, if not
billions, of people."
Go to notstupid.org, where you can send letters to politicians, and pledge how you will help this cause for the earth.
this article is also posted on filmfestivals.com