The Age of Stupid (UK, 2009)

2055: the benefit of hindsight

2055: the benefit of hindsight

This is a quite brilliant documentary about the disaster of climate change that capitalism cannot possibly do anything about as it’s, as the film states, predicated on expansion and when you’ve only one planet of resources… An SF framing device places an archivist, Pete Postlethwaite, in 2055 looking back at the ‘age of stupid’ – now – as we fail to get to grips with global warming. Using archive, and documentary footage, writer-director Franny Armstrong portrays the world of nimbys (who won’t have wind farms), exploitation of people by Big Oil, the declining glaciers of Europe, the displaced people of Iraq, and the Indian entrepreneur who’s bringing cheap flights to another billion people.

The editing (David G Hill) is terrific, for example juxtaposing the rationing during World War II with proposals for ‘rationing’ our carbon footprints, and the disparate footage is beautifully linked. There’s a quiet anger about the film that conveys its message powerfully allowing the blase entrepreneur, Jeh Wadia, to (inadvertently) pronounce his own stupidity and, memorably, one of the nimby wind farm protesters – when challenged about whether global warming was an important issue – drowned in her own hysteric laughter as she tried to reconcile her actions with her pronouncement that ‘of course it is, one does ones  best’. Wind farmer, Piers Guy, comes across as heroic in his attempts, in July 2007, to convince the little-middle Englanders, in Bedfordshire, of their responsiblities. He fails but when the county is flooded in the same month it appears that downpour was poetic justice.

Bradford Friends of the Earth were leafleting outside the screening and this film should prove a potent recruitment tool for green parties. That’s not to say it is propaganda, only a ‘head in the sand’ dodo would say so; it should be seen by everyone, particularly young people as they’re going to inherit the disastrous legacy bequeathed by the carbon economy.

Check out the website http://www.ageofstupid.net/ as it has interesting stuff on how it was made including its ‘crowd funding’.

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One Response

  1. […] The horror is helped by the ‘found footage’ form but is mostly generated by the… well, I won’t spoil. The source of the monsters, environmental disaster, reminds us of the creature-features on the 1950s where atomic radiation was the source of, for example, giant ants in Them! (1954). Even though such mutations didn’t come about, the force of the films’, to warn against atomic power, still remained. And so it will with eco-disaster movies, as we continue to fail to react, in a meaningful way, to our impact on the environment. We continue in the ‘age of stupid‘. […]

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