Glenn Close Recounts Humanity's Crimes Against the Planet in Home

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Home
Directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Opens February 4
Village East

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Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Home is an urgent jeremiad decrying man’s plundering of the earth’s natural resources. Or so anyone who paid attention only to the film’s audio track would be led to believe. As mournful strings set the tone, narrator Glenn Close delivers a withering, if repetitive, account of humanity’s crimes against the planet, a list that includes factory farming, deforestation, and the building of megalopolises that require an ever-increasing supply of energy to power. But while Close’s testimony is sufficiently terrifying, moving toward an apocalyptic vision of climate-change catastrophe, the urgency of her tone is belied by the placidity of the film’s visuals. Capturing the earth’s rural and urban landscapes in a series of overhead shots taken across 54 countries, Arthus-Bertrand shoots everything with the same slightly bland, meticulously pretty kino-eye. The result is a leveling impulse that refuses to make an aesthetic distinction between uncontaminated nature (a hot spring turned a near-psychedelic aqua by its algae content), devastated landscapes (soil-eroded hills in Madagascar that look like raw meat), and the negative results of humankind’s actions on impoverished populations (aerial shots of teeming Lagos). With everything glimpsed at a comfortable overhead distance, our planet becomes so much eye candy for the Nat Geo set.

 
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6 comments
jaylemeux
jaylemeux

Yeah, I really don't understand the reviewer's objections. The scenes of devastation are pretty recognizable as such. But more importantly, the reason for showing the earth's beauty l is to inspire people to protect it. I thought the message got through pretty well.

Chapelrat
Chapelrat

Unencumbered by shocking graphics of atrocities such as diseased cattle being trampled to death in "stockyards" and so forth, "Home," presents as an easy view - appropriate for the youngest viewer. I encourage parents and educators to expose their charges to this film.

Jeremy Horne
Jeremy Horne

Schenker seems to have missed the point in realizing that contrasting the Earth's beauty as portrayed in the visuals with the ugliness of the real data bring the point even closer, literally, to home. There enough images of that reality, such as the people picking through the landfills left by the relatively wealthy and the vast slums to present that contrast, as well. It would have been helpful though to give the source (peer-reviewed) of that data, perhaps in the lower-right-hand corner of the appropriate image. Home was preaching to me as the choir, as I as a scientist have studied enough of that peer-reviewed data to realize that optimistically, there are 10 years until we have reached the "tipping point". Frankly, given the momentum of the situation, I think we already have passed it, despite the valiant attempts in well meaning (and the more aware of societal sectors) quarters to remediate the situation. Corporatist greed and rapaciousness is so pervasive that its momentum has been overwhelming persistently and with even greater force the more civilized domains of the planet. So many peoples' aspirations are to be a part of the Amerikan dream and realize little what a nightmare it really is.

Sophiesf
Sophiesf

I feel bad for A. Schenker for writing such an unintelligent review of this film. He seems very ignorant and should probably try writing about something other than art, society or science...or maybe stop writing all together.

ANONYMOUS
ANONYMOUS

this film is completely crap

Rmes
Rmes

Dear Mr. Schenker,, If that is all that you got out of this film, save your comments for yourself,, You prove yourself most unlightened.. Maybe think a little more about it..

 

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