This new documentary that celebrates our Planet Earth opens in Toronto with competition from the Hot Docs Film Festival currently on at the same time. If one wants to take a break from the Hot Docs crowd, this fascinating documentary serves to celebrate, educate and warn human beings of the delicate nature of the planet. LA TERRE VUE DU COEUR (EARTH: SEEN FROM THE HEART) is a French documentary from Quebec subtitled in English with narration by well-respected scientists.
Having lived for 40 years on an old farm in northern Burgundy, Quebec astrophysicist Dr. Hubert Reeves has observed the deterioration of nature around his property. Faced with this threat to the Earth’s ecosystem, the scientist shares his concern in regards to the imminent possibility of a sixth extinction of animal and plant species on the planet. Reeves and French sociologist Dr. Frédéric Lenoir team up with a variety of experts in various fields to propose possible solutions to stop the overexploitation of natural resources and the erosion of biodiversity.
The doc begins like a science lesson. Water is the source of life, the audience is reminded, and it comes from depleted stars. How water came to Planet Earth is a subject of scientific debate Nevertheless, there is life. The theme of water is kept throughout the film, coming back to the importance of water regardless of the current topic.
The biggest enemy to EARTH is oil, which director Cadrin-Rossignol attacks fiercely. The unethical drilling of oil without any permission by TransCan in the St. Lawrence estuary is enough to infuriate anyone. The drilling is eventually halted after the company is brought to court by the locals protesting the Harper Government and the company.
The film in its attempt to be exhaustive covers too many issues on the health of the earth. Issues covered include global warming, the melting of he icebergs and opening of the NorthWest Passage, death of corals in the oceans (coral bleaching), permaculture, deepwater illumination, overfishing, just to name a few. One needs to learn more on each of the subjects put forward. For example, Jeff Orlowski’s documentary CHASING CORAL would be a good film to learn more about coral bleaching.
As far as educational values go, the film excels. There are many issues examined here that audiences will likely be unaware of. The most important thing is that there is hope for the planet, hope in the form of the tireless activists that volunteer their time and money for an urgent course. The film ends on a high note that cities are beginning to do their part. Rosemont in Quebec are widening pavements for planting trees and shrubs while roofs in the neighbourhood will all eventually be changed to white to reflect heat to keep the neighbourhood cooler. When one turns on the tap in NYC, the water that come out is filtered by natural means.
Ergüven’s doc also talks about the importance of animals. Donkeys are monkeys are mentioned with some esteem. Hunting is also brought into perspective. It is explained hat animals eat others in order to survive and it is part of the cycle of life. When wolves were eliminated from the American National Parks, the elk population expanded too fast which resulted in vegetation eaten too quickly. Nature was rebalanced when wolves were brought back into the equation.
Director Ergüven has recruited a wide range of talents from many disciples to narrate his feature and to give it clout. Among them are a cinematographer, a botanist, a conservationist, an entomologist, a biologist, an astrologist, an environmentalist and even a philosopher.
In the film, a narrator mentions that a person could be remembered as a party person or someone who makes a difference to the planet. Oddly enough, this also points the finger at people going to see films like A SWINGER’S WEEKEND which also opens this week or this one about the planet. The film opens coinciding with the celebration of EARTH Month.