Posted by steve on May 28, 2009
As temporary NING-master for the Transition Sweden movement, I was invited to a pre-screening of Franny Armstrongs drama-documentary-animation hybrid ”the Age of Stupid” The film revolves around an archivist in 2055, living in a devastated world, reviewing material from 2008 and asking why people did not react sooner.
The film is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, bringing together the different media, and telling the story through the six separate documentary stories of ordinary people in different parts of the world.
The music, the artwork, the animations all meld together into a film which is obviously a labour of love for all involved.
The message I get from the film is that man-made climate warming is going on, and the signs are all around us. However, we are not doing anything about it. Relying on Peak oil to solve the problem is not good enough, the Earth can still reach a tipping point on the current emissions.
As the film progresses, we come closer to their own involvement in climate change, as victim, as cause, as someone trying to do something about it. In this light, not one of them can be seen to be responsible fully, but it brings it home how everyone on the planet is complicit in the current climate destabilisation.
I felt a growing strong sense of ”do not blame anyone” just take responsibility.
However, some animated cartoon sequences do put the blame squarely on capitalism and the oil industry. And they accuse the US, through the words of Alan Greenspan, of gong to war in Iraq for oil.
At this point, a couple of people left, maybe because the working day was over and they were not getting paid anymore, or they had a hard time with the negativity.
In terms of solutions, they come later in the film, around the last 20 minutes.
If you have seen every film on Peak Oil and climate change, go see this one anyway. We need to be moved emotionally by what is going on, and this film speaks to the heart as well as the head. If you want to understand the issues more clearly, go see the film: it lays it out clearly.
If you are new to climate change and oil, be prepared for a hard-hitting documentary.
And do see the Making Of film on the Guardian site!
The question arises: shall Transition Town initiatives show this film? We had quite a debate afterwards. My response ( and I am keen to do some transition activism in my new home town of Flen, Sweden) is to treat people like adults, and set up film and info/debate meetings before you even talk about transition. Just arrange a series of ”Climate and Oil” film showings and let it take its course.