Special Screening: Climate.Culture.Change
The series “Climate.Culture.Change”, curated by the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with ECOMOVE International, highlights the social dimension of climate change: human beings as cause, victims, and also as the key to finding solutions. The series presents a panorama of interconnections, from the causes of climate change to possible solutions, from the individual to society, from local to global contexts, in a wide variety of ways.
Before the Flood: Tuvalu
UK/France 2004, Paul Lindsay, 62 min.
Tuvalu, an island in the Pacific Ocean, may seem like paradise, but it will sink beneath the waves within a few decades as a result of climate change. The inhabitants have long been fighting an international campaign for more action to be taken to combat climate change. In the 1990s, Tuvalu sold its internet domain “.tv” and shared the profits with its 10,000 inhabitants. As a result of its surge in wealth, though, Tuvalu increasingly came to adopt an “American” way of life. This film describes the impact of the modern Western lifestyle in a thoughtful and melancholic way, while at the same time pointing out the challenge of forgoing short-term consumption for the benefit of increased long-term quality of life, even when the terrible consequences are literally on our front doorstep.
GDR 1988, Animation, Klaus Georgi, 3:25 min.
Huge black clouds of smoke are pumped out of the chimneys of an enormous manufacturing plant. The nearby inhabitants are forced to wear protective masks. The factory operates non-stop. Row upon row of machines, all producing the same thing: protective masks.
GDR 1986, Animation, Klaus Georgi, 2 min.
A cinema audience stares spellbound at the screen. Cars come to a halt at a railway crossing, their exhaust pipes fuming. The drivers cough, the forest creatures cough, the forest itself coughs, and so does the planet. The movie comes to an end, the audience applauds and they all depart – in their cars. The discrepancy between knowledge and action, presented in two minutes.
Germany 2009, Peter Wedel, 4:22 min.
Three friends meet in a pub and start chatting about aspects of their lives. Cars, holidays, houses – climate change is irrelevant. But when it comes to paying, it soon becomes clear who will have to foot the bill...
They will come to Town
Germany 2008, Animation, Thilo Ewers, 1:20 min.
Images of a metropolis in the future: buildings form vast canyons, there are no people in sight, everything lies derelict and overgrown with vegetation. It suddenly becomes clear what has happened...
The Age of Stupid
UK 2009, Documentary, Franny Armstrong, 92 min.
In the year 2055, climate change has almost entirely eliminated humankind. In the middle of the ocean lies the last “'repository” of human civilisation. Its only surviving member of staff (Pete Postlethwaite) looks over old footage from the beginning of the 21st century, back when it was still possible to prevent the catastrophe. This film combines a fictional narrative with documentary elements, retracing the path of ecological catastrophe from a future perspective. The pressing question remains, why didn't we take our fate into our own hands while we still had the chance? This lays bare the interconnectedness of climate change, exposing the cultural as well as individual hurdles that stand in the way of immediate action.
People – Dreams - Action
Menschen - Träume – Taten
Germany 2007, Documentary, Andreas Stiglmayr, 90 min.
The East German countryside in the 1990s: a group of around 120 people set up “Sieben Linden”, an autonomous eco-settlement. Spurred on by the utopia of an independent and environmentally sustainable way of life, they build a mini-village for themselves that satisfies all of life's needs in harmony with nature. During the process, they are confronted with organizational, financial and, above all, with social difficulties. Finding the balance between individual wants and group needs often requires tough decisions. Nonetheless, most of the settlement's inhabitants are no longer able to imagine any other way of life. They derive great strength from making their dream a reality.
When the Iceberg melts
Wenn der Eisberg kalbt
Germany 2002, Documentary, Sylvie Hohlbaum/Gregor Schubert, 6 min.
Manfred Binder is an ‘inventor’ in the Hesse countryside. As he sees it, it is only a matter of time before climate change brings about the end of the world. His solution for saving humankind in the face of rising sea levels is to create a gargantuan ‘survival capsule’ which will float on the world's oceans.
Recipes for Desaster
Finland 2008, Documentary, John Webster, 85 min.
Filmmaker John Webster likewise focuses on the question of how we, as individuals, can combat climate change. Through his film, he allows us to participate in his efforts to lead a low-carbon lifestyle. Over the course of one year, he and his family attempt to reduce their ecological ‘footprint’ to a globally acceptable level by taking a variety of measures. They avoid using the car, electricity and anything made of plastic, and radically change their diet, eating only local products. Humorous and convincing, this film depicts the daily obstacles and adversities, as well as the newfound freedoms, which they encounter. It shows not only the obvious disparity between our existing lifestyle and a sustainable one but also that these changes lead to an improved quality of life. A journey from self-interest to self-awareness.
Germany 2001, Animation, Chris Stenner/Heidi Wittinger/Arvid Uibel, 8:30 min.
Hew and Kew, two old stones, watch as the centuries pass by. For a long while, nothing much happens in their stony old lives until one day, when the first humans appear in wooden huts. Hew and Kew witness the invention of the wheel. Suddenly, everything happens very quickly: wheelbarrows develop into cars and the wooden huts grow into entire cities, gobbling up the surrounding landscape. The acceleration of human advancement is endless. In all their thousands of years, the two stones have never seen anything like it. The emergence of humankind, however, remains merely an interlude for Hew and Kew. After the clamour and commotion subsides, silence returns...
Austria/Luxemburg 2007, Documentary, Udo Maurer, 82 min.
Without water, mankind could not survive. However, access to clean water is growing increasingly difficult. As a result of climate change, water-related problems are becoming increasingly severe in many corners of the world. In three closely followed episodes, the film shows people confronted with three contrasting phenomena - drought, flood and drinking-water pollution. In Bangladesh, houses are converted to boats; when the Aral Sea dries up in Kazakhstan, whole fishing villages suddenly find themselves stranded in a desert; while in the Nairobi slums, drinking water becomes a commodity and a matter of life and death. In addition to portraying these individual fates, the film makes one thing very clear: the regions where the consequences of climate change are most dramatic are those which contributed least to the problem.