Canadian filmmakers Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper approach climate change from a fresh angle in this pensive and poetic documentary.
Eschewing the well-worn road of simply quoting statistics and interviewing talking-heads, Ami and Ripper instead deploy a sequence of arresting visual metaphors to explore the changing nature of our planet. They travel the world to capture breath-taking shots of some of the Earth’s most vulnerable habitats, interweaving these scenes with work from a host of radical ecological artists. The various human-like installations and painted figures raise questions of our place in the world, while the astonishing shots of Monarch butterflies—a central metaphor in the film—highlight the core message: that our planet is beautiful and fragile, but also capable of transformation.
The pair decided to make the film following Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013 and killed more than 6,000 people. Their sense of urgency is clear, as they open with a terrifying array of disasters, from hurricanes and forest fires to large-scale industry stripping the landscape. But slowly, these images transform into something more hopeful. ‘We’re caterpillars right now,’ explains the voiceover. ‘I think we could morph into beautiful winged creatures.’
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