Friday, September 14, 2007

odes to Peak Oil and Global Warming

After seeing "The Eleventh Hour" recently, I was struck out how many similarly-themed films have come out in the past few years, to the point that I had to sort them out, as they were starting to meld into one big environmental film in the back of my brain.

I think we're all clear on "An Inconvenient Truth" -- Al Gore's 2006 ode to Global Warming. "The Eleventh Hour" echoes Al's ode. Imitation being the best form of flattery, Leonardo DeCaprio was evidently inspired by Gore's truth but also Tom Hartmann's book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight", one of several important odes to Peak Oil.

Which leads to two other excellent films, arguably better films that got a lot less publicity. Perhaps the best is "The End of Suburbia" (2004) which preceeded them all, and was spearheaded by the New Urbanism crowd (Peter Calthorpe and James Kunstler, whose "The Long Emergency" is another important ode to Peak Oil). This film is semi-enjoyable due its nostalgic journey through the history of American suburbia as well the the bleak destiny that such living arrangements lead to.

The other film, "A Crude Awakening" (2006), received no publicity that I'm aware of, and came my way almost by accident. Focusing on the history of the oil industry, this film teems with powerful, rare and archival footage that you're not likely to see elsewhere, such as workers toiling in the oil fields of Baku. This is perhaps the most powerful of the four films, but also the bleakest. There's a little bit of that disturbed feeling I got looking at an atom smasher at the Smithsonian Museum. But then, Peak Oil is not for the faint of heart...


Post a Comment

<< Home