Film stars join epic nature/development struggle
EDITOR's NOTE: Lynn Dirk is a big fan of Cinema Verde and a CV Board Member.
Several of the films at this year's Cinema Verde International Environmental Film and Arts Festival (Feb 12-15, Paramount Plaza Hotel) have the involvement of some big film industry names, so this sneak peak is going to focus on those films or events.
One of the biggest homegrown celebrities, as far as Gainesville is concerned, is the Phoenix family, and this year Cinema Verde is screening a short film, Hidden Cost of Pork, that Joaquin Phoenix introduces and narrates -- and for this, he is unusually normal. He personally details the results of an investigation into pork suppliers for Walmart. What they found is very disturbing. Indeed, this film can be considered a continuation of the earlier, also disturbing film by Phoenix shown at Cinema Verde in 2011 about animal treatment, Earthlings.
At this point, please allow me to make a not-so-brief editorial digression: Why would people subject themselves to any disturbing images or sounds, let alone those of animal cruelty? Some people just won't, no matter what. But most of us find that the source of disturbing images or sounds also contains positive aspects that outweigh the negative. For example, for me, the great story, cinematography, and vicarious revenge of Inglorious Basterds outweighs the violence.
The disturbing images in Earthlings and this latest video from Joaquin Phoenix are similar to the gory parts of a scary movie – with one important exception: it's not just for entertainment. Films shown at Cinema Verde are challenges to us to recognize a problem that can only be fixed if everyone -- or at least most of us -- know about it and want to change it.
Public opinion is The Force in our media-dominated democracy. So come and find out the who, what, where, and how of problems that Joaquin Phoenix and other directors of Cinema Verde films think you can help with. If there are any disturbing parts, just close your eyes and cover your ears at those parts, but keep your mind open and focus on the positive. If you do, you will hear good information and even good news about what people are doing or can be doing to protect our quality of life by getting involved in what I have decided to call the epic struggle between development and nature on this world that is engaging more and more of the world's people.
Now back to the big names that are featured in Cinema Verde's 2015 film selections:
Liam Neeson – Love Thy Nature (USA, 76 m). Sat, 2/14, 8 pm. In a welcome departure from his Taken films, Neeson provides voiceover as the character "Sapiens" in this cinematic immersion into the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world. Ironically, while environmental crisis threatens the survival of our species, renewing our connection with nature is the key to creating a highly advanced new era. In addition to spectacular footage, this film also has a great soundtrack by a French graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, François-Paul Aïche.
Jim Jarmusch – Song from the Forest (USA/Central Africa, 98 m). Fri, 2/13, 8:45 pm. Some people may not have seen the films of director Jim Jarmusch as they are truly independent films in every sense. His most recent film is award-winning Only Lovers Left Alive. I haven't seen many of his films either, but I love Dead Man with Johnny Depp, which has a sound track by Neil Young. In this Cinema Verde film, Jarmusch is not a director, but a commentator: He is a close friend from college of American Louis Sarno, who heard a song with mysterious sounds on the radio that gripped his imagination. Sarno left New York City to find the source of the music – the Bayaka Pygmies in the Central African rainforest. Louis returns 25 years later with a half Bayakan son, Samedi, to whom Louis had promised he would bring to "his world." When he returns to NYC, he and his son stay with Jarmusch, who discusses how his friend has changed. Ironically, Samedi adapts more easily to the asphalt, glass, and concrete than does his father.
Teresa Russell – Moving Mountains (USA, 104 m). Sun, 2/15, 4:15 pm. Russell has been in mainstream Hollywood flicks almost every year since 1976. I know her from the 1987 movie Black Widow. In this film she plays a true-life hero, Trish Bragg, a housewife with no money and little education. When a coal mining operation causes the wells in her community to go dry, she takes on the billion dollar coal company and a governmental bureaucracy. Her struggle leads to historic changes in the way coal mining is done and propels Trish into the forefront of the environmental struggles our country still grapples with today.
It's possible big name celebrities can be found in some of the other films that will be screened at Cinema Verde, but either way, all the films talk about big issues that are having a big impact on this world and that we should know about because, as a bunch of crazy musicians sang (30 years ago), WE ARE the World, so try to see as many as you can!
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LynnD Friday, 06 February 2015 23:41 Comment Link
At Cinema Verde VIP Reception--you are invited!--Thursday night, 6-7, director of "Revolution" will attend by skype. "Revolution" follows at 7. Executive produced by Gus Van Sant ('Good Will Hunting', 'My Own Private Idaho'). Humans depend on a healthy ocean but time is running out. Join the Revolution to save homo sapiens in our lifetime! http://www.cinemaverde.org/tickets