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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
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Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

director: Nicholas de Pencier, Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky
original title: Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
country: Canada
year: 2018
running time: 87 min.

synopsis

The human approach has brought the planet Earth to a borderline called sixth mass extinction by scientists. Along with contemporary philosophies of thinkers such as Timothy Morton, calling for a radical change of the human relationship to the nature, the alarming fact has roused three documentarians to create a film that would be completely different from all the films showing beautiful landscapes and animals and would rather focus on everything that has been destroying this beauty. The suggestive shots of the places from all around the world that are most affected by extractions and industry serve as a proof of human short-sightedness and together with the highly-informative and brooding voice-over, they call for a last-minute change.

“Sometimes you need to go up in the sky to convey place, but if you stay up there all the time, you float away from what is meaningful.” E. Burtynsky, J. Baichwal, N. de Pencier   

biography

The renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky (*1955) and the documentarians Jennifer Baichwal (1965) and Nicolas de Pencier have been collaborating since 2006 when they made their first common film Manufactured Landscapes (2007) which was presented at the Ji.hlava IDFF. Together with Watermark (2014) and Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, the trilogy deals with the fatal effects the human kind has on the nature.

more about film

director: Nicholas de Pencier, Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky
producer: Nicholas de Pencier
script: Jennifer Baichwal
editing: Roland Schlimme

other films in the section

To the Unknown
The flora and fauna of Madagascar fascinate scientists from all over the world. Some spend their entire lives exploring the island. This visually captivating documentary follows several researchers during their work in the inhospitable conditions of the rainforest. A film reflection on the enthusiasm and patience of individuals hungry for the discovery of the unknown. 

To the Unknown

Liinu Grönlund
Finland / 2017 / 30 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Welcome to Sodom
They call it Sodom. A hell for people. A paradise for business. The world’s biggest dump of electronic waste is teeming with noises of people working. They rummage, collect, recover and burn down. An impressive apocalyptic tableau on meticulous work within a new economic segment. A disconcerting testimony on life conditions.

Welcome to Sodom

Florian Weigensamer, Christian Krönes
Austria / 2018 / 90 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
The Climate Experiment
In 2017, climate change was the theme of all exhibitions by two Swedish artists. The film, which maps their annual tour around the world, combines educational moments with the observation of the common life of both artists. Shots of their installations and objects act as alienating effect that enhances the relevance of the global theme.

The Climate Experiment

Mats Bigert, Lars Bergström
Sweden, China, France, United States, Norway, Morocco / 2018 / 58 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
World Premiere
Earth
Spectacular images show several mining sites in Europe and North America. The relief-like terrain created by heaving machinery shows that man is changing the world like to other species before. Interviewed by the camera, the workers describe the pragmatic reasons for mining and they joy they feel from their work, but also reflect on their negative impacts on life on Earth. The interviews are made more powerful by seemingly neutral static shots of the changing landscape. The fascinating spectacle resembling a work of abstract art lays bare the unparalleled facts of life in this new wasteland and remind us of the consequences our planet suffers because of our modern way of life. “If we regard the Earth as an organism, then the Earth's crust - its skin which is its most delicate organ. I wanted to take a closer look at the wounds we are inflicting upon the Earth.” N. Geyrhalter     
personal program

Earth

Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Austria / 2019 / 115 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Acid Forest
The Curonian Spit is a destination for both tourists and cormorants. The camera follows visitors from a bird’s-eye view. Their sensations become part of the place’s biodiversity. The ancient birds are – for now – turning into feared bearers of ruin. This observational document looks upon a spectacular part of the continent, the main attraction of which is its dead forest.

Acid Forest

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė
Lithuania / 2018 / 63 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
East European Premiere
Sea of Shadows
A fierce struggle for the preservation of an ecosystem is taking place in the Gulf of California. A Mexican drug cartel had discovered the so-called “sea cocaine” – a rare fish called totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) that has become the central article of the multi-million-dollar business with the Chinese mafia. To hunt these fish, the criminals use illegal nets, killing other animals, including the smallest whale in the world, the highly endangered vaquita. The dramatic documentary thriller shows the fierce fight of undercover investigators, environmentalists, journalists, and the Mexican Navy in an attempt to save the vaquita from extinction at the last minute. "By illuminating the problem through cinematic storytelling while offering solutions and captivating heroes with a cause, I hope to help save our this ecosystem, which is on the verge of total collapse" R. Ladkani  
personal program

Sea of Shadows

Richard Ladkani
Austria / 2018 / 105 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
The Dispossessed
The camera’s steadfast gaze carefully follows the toil of small-scale farmers across the globe and records speeches by representatives of food conglomerates and supporters of sustainable development. The documentary essay uncovers the pyramid of an agriculture industry interested only in profit, with no regard for the nutritional needs of man and the soil.

The Dispossessed

Mathieu Roy
Switzerland, Canada / 2017 / 182 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
World Premiere
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
The question is not whether we have to change, but whether we are taking the necessary steps quickly enough. Renewable energy or nuclear? Neither the people nor the politicians can make up their minds. The ice is melting. Trump is calling people back to the coal mines. All this is shown against the backdrop of a “green tour” by former Vice President Al Gore of the USA, who calls for a revolution before the deluge comes.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
United States / 2017 / 99 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Do Animals Have Rights ?
Can animals defend their rights in court? Symbolic film sequences frame philosophical and cultural-historical searching for the roots of today’s position of farm animals as products of the food industry and the attempt to give them equal rights in the context of new scientific discoveries and political struggles in the EU.

Do Animals Have Rights ?

Martin Blanchard
France / 2016 / 90 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
East European Premiere
Into the Okavango
This travel documentary chronicles a four-month scientific expedition to study the mysterious Okavango riverscape. This film about a journey that brings together scientists and the local population offers magical shots of unexplored nature as well as its animal inhabitants, and brings an environmental message regarding the situation in the surrounding African countries.

Into the Okavango

Neil Gelinas
United States, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa / 2018 / 88 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
East European Premiere
Empty Cages
This short film with a clear moral message looks at the illegal activities of the activist group known as Empty Cages, which liberates animals from inhuman living conditions at large factory farms. The filmmaker compares the activists’ viewpoint with the opinions of the people around them and encourages us to consider what value society places on the lives of animals.

Empty Cages

Teresia Fant
Norway, Sweden / 2017 / 36 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
East European Premiere
History of Disobedience
An alternative history of Czechoslovakia, this five-part TV series explores the evolution of the environmental movement since the 1950s and how it negotiated its position with the communist regime. This unknown story comes alive through protagonists who were direct participants in the events – and co-authors of the revolution, whether consciously or not.A Testimony on Nature - Out of competition

History of Disobedience

Ivo Bystřičan
Czech Republic / 2017 / 56 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
World Premiere
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