A Critique on Home

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A CRITIQUE ON HOME- (A movie documentary by Yann Arthus-Bertrand)

Ofelia R. Escauriaga
DevCom Student at the University of the Philippines Open University

HOME, the environmental movie by Yann Arthus-Bertrand was first seen on June 5, 2009 to coincide with the World Environmental Day. It was released simultaneously in 181 countries to cinemas, online via Youtube, on DVD and Blu-ray and even French Television. The film holds the record for largest single scale release of any film in the history of films.

Making of the movie took Arthus-Bertrand three years. 2 years of it, he and a small crew traveled the globe to capture some of the most captivating aerial photography of our home planet. Indeed, the movie showed the awesome glimpse of the Earth as shown in the marvelous aerial footages he took from more than 120 locations in fifty-four countries. As I watched it, I suddenly realized that I will never have a chance to see one for real, and I am truly grateful for seeing this movie.

The film’s images are all beautiful and mesmerizing even though something is not right at all. Even in its unnatural or damaged state, Arthus-Bertrand has shot remarkably stunning pictures of our planet. Even the one in Israel about fossil water fed farms, the white shining circles unfortunately, were areas already depleted of their fossil water deposits and are abandoned. As narrated by Glenn Close, fossil waters are non-renewable resources which without doubt I immediately took as a fact without doing the trouble of validation simply because the maker of the movie commands outright trust, integrity and honesty. This notion continues through as the narration went on, matched by frames after frames of images of the rampant depletion of the natural resources and its effect on the Earth’s climate as brought about by human activities. From oil mills, forest fires, factories, industrial farming, deforestation, shrinking rivers, and the building of megalopolises that require an ever-increasing supply of energy to power.

The Earth’s history or its 4 billion years ago story, was concisely encapsulated in 1:33 minutes of the Youtube version with a message that we only have 10 years to work on the reversal process to avert a catastrophic return of the Earth to the way it was 4 billion years ago which most likely will happen by 2050. Considering that this is already 2012, three years has already elapsed. That would mean we only have 7 years to go to make things in order. There were enumerated solutions at the last part of the movie like the solar-powered communities, wind mills, sea snakes, etc., but the way they were presented is typical of a regular movie’s conclusion – wrapping-up because there is HOPE, or there were actually efforts being done to address those problems.

In general, the movie is good and has effectively delivers the message which is to bring awareness to the plight of our planet and save it from destruction.

For a science communicator, the spontaneous action was to validate the enumerated facts, and also to further enhance some knowledge on the much new information that was presented in the movie.

First observed was the target audience. This material belongs to the popular science literature, a movie with an online version so that audiences are in a much wider range of location in the Jamias’s ripple effect analogy diagram. But even though HOME is a non-profit film and can be accessed freely in Youtube, audience level are probably mostly urban based, educated and enjoys the ICT perks and this is definitely not the widest majority. The movie actually chooses its audience. If I bring it home, I might have the same experience when I attempted to show to my friends/classmates the movie “The Inconvenient Truth”, as one event of our reunion, where unfortunately, no one seems to like the idea of watching it as only two or three made effort to come and watch it. With my limited Youtube use, I also failed to...
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