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Category Archives: Environment

The Last Rites

(2008, 17mins, dir. Yasmine Kabir)
A haunting wordless depiction of the ship-breaking yards of Chittagong, Bangladesh. “With her images, one feels the impossible weight of the ropes, as shoeless feet are submerged ankle deep in toxic petroleum; the palpable hunger driving bodies of skin and bone to repeat arduous physical feats that would make a strong man groan.” [Alisa Lebow]

They’re called the ship-breaking yards: the graveyards of ocean-going vessels near Chittagong in Bangladesh. In the foreground, fishermen wade through low water with nets in hand; in the background, we see the gigantic ships on their sides, waiting for the day they’ll be taken apart.
The Last Rites is a short, silent account in which director Yasmine Kabir is more in search of the poetry of the images than an all-encompassing record of the events. She juxtaposes the insignificance of the men against the towering sides of the ships. The fire of the welding machine is the only warmth in the dark backgrounds of cold steel. This is where the ships come to die. Not all at once with a bang, but slowly, only as fast as the men can dismantle them. After all, the ships aren’t taken apart with big cranes, but rather by the welders, piece by piece. One sheet of metal at a time, until nothing’s left, and then more ships arrive for dismantling. The Last Rites is Kabir’s third documentary at IDFA. After her first in 2000, My Migrant Soul, her second film was screened in 2003: A Certain Liberation, a heartbreaking story about a woman who walked the streets of the town of Kopilmoni like a crazy person after her family was murdered.

 

Complicit

Complicit is about migrant workers in China. Journey of Chinese factory migrant worker-turned-activist Yi Yeting, who takes his fight against the global electronic industry from his hospital bed to the international stage. While battling his own work-induced leukemia, Yi Yeting teaches himself labour law and joins the struggle to defend the lives of teenage workers poisoned by toxic working conditions in the making of smartphones.

But defending the lives of millions of Chinese workers from becoming terminally ill due to working conditions necessitates confrontation with some of the world’s largest brands including Apple and Samsung….

Heather White, Producer/Co-Director
heatherhsw@gmail.com

“A Harrowing, Powerful Look at the Real Price of Our Devices”

REVIEWS:
POV: “As one gazes into the screen and taps one’s thumbs on the keyboard icons, one grasps one’s involvement and complicity in a major human rights issue. Even reviewing the film, staring at a screen on a laptop, feels uncomfortably inappropriate and ironic after viewing this compelling documentary.”
http://povmagazine.com/articles/view/review-complicit

The Reel Word: “Complicit is a harrowing and powerful documentary that may be set in fast developing China, but it raises an ethical question that we should all consider: From the smartphones we swipe to the Fitbits we wear, what really happens along the supply chain? Directors Heather White and Lynn Zhang make audiences face the uncomfortable truth that there is a devastating human cost to the conveniences we enjoy on a daily basis.”

THE REEL SCORE: 10/10
https://www.thereelword.net/complicit-documentary-review-china-2017/0/

Film Doo: “COMPLICIT is a shattering comment on inequality and the forces that work to maintain the unjust status-quo.”
https://www.filmdoo.com/blog/2017/03/08/review-complicit-2017/

Faze: “Complicit, A Shocking Film On Global Outsourcing Featured At Human Rights Watch Film Festival”
http://faze.ca/movie-review-complicit-global-outsourcing/

Toronto Globe and Mail: “In this year’s festival, the most complex film to assess was Complicit, a doc about Chinese activists struggling to help factory workers poisoned by the chemicals used to make cellphones and computers. In that instance, Human Rights Watch had to call on the expertise of three different departments: its China division; the health division; and the business division.”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/human-rights-watch-film-festival-critically-curates-documentaries/article34400377/

The Platform: “Complicit…forces one to ponder how much a life is truly worth in our profit obsessed world.”
http://www.the-platform.org.uk/2017/03/25/film-nights-for-human-rights-complicit/

PressReader: “Complicit reveals the human costs of global outsourcing while highlighting the choices made by a group of inspired activists seeking change.”
https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-globe-and-mail-metro-ontario-edition/20170324/282535838196685

In The Seats: “Complicit is pointed exploration into the various levels of corporate and governmental corruption impacting China’s manufacturing industry. Aiming to inspire consumers to stand up and demand better from corporations, Complicit is a film worth putting our electronics down for.

http://intheseats.ca/human-rights-watch-festival-2017-review-complicit/
The Georgia Straight: “Complicit reveals the inhumane ways in which hopeful, hardworking citizens are exposed to toxic chemicals on the job and the shady attempts by multi-billion-dollar corporations to shed all responsibility. The result is equal parts devastating, gut-wrenching, and infuriating—a necessary call for westerners to re-evaluate their relationship with capitalism and its astronomical cost.

 

When Two Worlds Collide (2016)

Directed By: Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel
Runtime: 1 hr 43 min
Stars: – – –

Synopsis: An indigenous environmental activist takes on the large businesses that are destroying the Amazon.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2017 in Documentary, Environment

 

Gasland (2010)

Directed by: Josh Fox
Running Time: 104 min
Starring: N/A

Website: http://one.gaslandthemovie.com/home

Synopsis: “The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.”

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Documentary, Environment

 

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Director: Peter Berg

Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan (screenplay), Matthew Sand (screenplay) |3 more credits »

A Hollywood thriller recreates the 2010 disaster in which a BP oil rig caught on fire and exploded, killing 11 people and releasing tens of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. High-level acting and special effects help tell the story of BP’s greed that led to the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
 

When Two Worlds Collide

An indigenous environmental activist takes on the large businesses that are destroying the Amazon.
Initial release: January 22, 2016

Backed by a “free trade” agreement with the U.S., the president of Peru launched a plan to turn over indigenous Amazonian land to big corporations for mining and oil and gas extraction. Indigenous communities fought back. The filmmakers immersed themselves in this drama and produced incredible footage showing the courage and sacrifice of the native people, juxtaposed with the familiar invoking of “progress” and “the rule of the law” by the corporations’ allies in government.

 

 

Plastic China (2016)

China (Director: Jiu-liang Wang) — Yi-Jie, an 11-year-old girl, works alongside her parents in a recycling facility while dreaming of attending school. Kun, the facility’s ambitious foreman, dreams of a better life. Through the eyes and hands of those who handle its refuse, comes an examination of global consumption and culture. International Premiere. THE NEW CLIMATE