Home : a Movie Analysis

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HOME
A Movie Analysis
(Maritess J. Balquiedra, DevC 263)

Home is an environmental documentary by the French actor-photographer-turned-film director Yann Arthus Bertrand. With aerial footages from fifty-four countries, the movie chronicles the present day state of the Earth, and sends out a very strong message, the planet we call home is in trouble, and we, the dominant species, are largely responsible. The main theme expressed throughout the film is that of linkage, how all organisms and the Earth are linked with each other in a critical natural balance, and how nothing and no one can be self-sufficient. After getting this message across, the movie asks: “We have the power to change, what are we waiting for?” The movie starts by taking the viewer back to the beginning of time, and explains how and when life on Earth came about. The first few minutes showed footage of the beginning of the natural world, starting with single-celled algae developing at the edges of volcanic springs. By showing the algae’s important role in the evolution of photosynthesis, the many different species of plants, which all originated from this one-celled life form, were also explored. We learn that the world is four billion years old while humans are only 200,000 years old. However, that so short a time we have been around, we have had greater impact than any other species. The film says that in the last five decades alone, the Earth has been more radically changed than by all other previous generations of humanity. A bigger part of the film is made up of a series of similar facts illustrated by moving images, which highlight the actions of humans causing damage to the Earth, and their possible irreversible consequences if the trend will not change. It shows the agricultural revolution and its impact. It portrays today’s predicament about cattle ranches, deforestation, global fresh water shortages, the use of non-renewable fossil water, man’s dependency on fossil fuels, the electricity shortage, and the exhaustion of mineral supplies and other natural resources. Major cities like New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Tokyo, Dubai and Shenzhen are used as examples of energy, food and water wastage. After capturing the varied activities of mankind which compromise the Earth’s natural balance, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and changing weather patterns are given emphasis especially how these phenomena are ravaging people in countries which have least to do with climate change. It is at this point that the narrator focuses on global warming and goes “the clock of climate change is ticking,” afterwhich some hard facts and figures are presented in white bold text. This information directs the viewer to the enormity of the problem that humans may not have realized until now. The documentary does not only show the truths about the impact humans make on Earth, but also highlighted what they are doing to reverse it. Towards the end, green initiatives of some countries are mentioned. These include renewable energy resources, creation of more national parks, and redirection of funds from other priorities like military into education and environment protection. The movie winds up with the conclusion that there is still hope, “we still have half of the world’s forests, thousands of rivers, lakes and glaciers, and thousands of thriving species. We know that the solutions are there today. It’s too late to be a pessimist.” Judging by the language and universality of its theme, this movie is intended for a general audience. Every human being, young and old, rich and poor, leaders or ordinary citizens, anyone who has a stake in the issue of environment and survival will learn from watching it. Given the profile of climate change and other green issues at present, the film delivers a timely message, that the Earth, shown in its incredible natural beauty, is also fragile and we are surely upsetting its balance. This is presented clearly and...
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