We're in the midst of a climate emergency, that much is clear. Creative documentaries have been heralding the issues for years; not just dictating action, but bringing nuanced global experiences to the fore and considering all manner of solutions.
In the run-up to COP 26, we invite you to consider the climate, revisit the issues and get ready for the debate of our lives.
Dir: Meng Han
China / South Korea / Netherlands / 2019 / 89mins
Langfang, about 40 kilometers from Beijing, is one of the most air-polluted cities in China. But at the local environmental protection bureau, deputy chief Li and his assistant Hu are working hard to change this. There’s intense pressure from the leadership in Beijing, and far-reaching measures are needed to combat the fog laced with smoke and exhaust fumes that regularly blankets the city. The steel mill has to close down, teams of inspectors visit environmental offenders, and spray trucks attempt to curb the smog.
This observational bureaucratic drama highlights a situation that parallels the global environmental crisis: the urgency to tackle the problem is obvious, but who will pick up the tab? The Chinese government’s strict environmental policy, which includes imposing sanctions on the mayors who are responsible, puts the employees of the environmental protection bureau in a difficult position.
Dir: Matthieu Rytz
Canada / 2018 / 77mins
What do you do when your nation is being swallowed by the sea? Kiribati, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, is destined to disappear under rising sea levels within decades.
Former President Anote Tong is racing to find a way to protect his people and secure their future, as they face becoming the first climate refugees in history. While his journey through the possibilities of geo-engineering and diplomacy lead him to the UN Climate Change Conference, ordinary Kiribati citizens are already seeking safe harbour overseas.
Put yourself in the shoes of the people living on the frontline of the climate crisis, with this intimate evocation of a country and community under threat.
Dir: Damon Gameau
Australia / 2019 / 92mins
Award-winning director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film) embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream.
Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, Damon draws on the best minds from around the world to focus on climate, economics, technology, civil society and sustainability to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world.
We love this film for inspiring children of all ages as well adults and delivering serious information with lightness and humour. If you're feeling overwhelmed and inactive when it comes to humanity and this planet, this film offers some green shoots of hope.