Afterwards, I watched 'Demain' (Tomorrow) wherein another friendship group, this time French filmmakers, fly around the planet to confront their fears about environmental destruction by finding lots of examples of people doing good things with food, energy, economy... But, after 40 years of familiarity with and active support for projects like these, I found the film hard to watch as the world heads so massively in the opposite direction:
The UK government has all but killed off the department for Environment and Climate Change and on the very day of Demain's film's screening began the process of leaving the EU (and likely ditching its legislation protecting the environment from corporate greed); In the US, the Trump administration is similarly determined to kill off the Environmental Protection Agency and it is ditching its commitment to even inadequate climate change mitigation. Even locally, the film highlighted contradiction after contradiction for me: increasing numbers of new cars with one occupant clogging our roads in Ceredigion (and just about everywhere else in the UK, no?); virtually no provision for safe cycling in our town; Tesco opening in the wake of initiatives like Transition Town Aberystwyth failing due to lack of public support...
I deliberately mentioned the film-makers flying around the world to make their film as a response to catastrophic climate change because artistic responses to environmental crises that do not explore their own perpetuation of those crises - if not significantly on a material basis then at least conceptually - is not good enough. We need to tell stories very differently - to be the change we want to see. I don't meant ultra earnestly, but rather with a new creative ethic that is truly radical - engaged, disobedient, disruptive... (Vanda Shiva touched on this in the film). And the same goes for academic responses: engage, research with not experiment on, care and exercise it, take risks, speak truth to power, teach everyone - do it different!
Some of the idealistic friends in The War Show were imprisoned, some tortured, some killed. This morning Russian troops oversaw the evacuation of the last freedom fighters from Homs, the Syrian city of revolutionary hope. On any significant scale, it seems, the bad guys are winning across the earth.
It's fantastic that the Wales One World film festival brings such timely, thought-provoking world cinema to our town - even if I do get depressed as much by the optimistic films as the the apocalyptic ones!