Environmental issues like pollution, global warming, deforestation, ice cap melting, and other such problems are all too common in our daily conversations, and they only seem to be getting worse. As soon as a new environmental disaster is reported, we are bombarded with reminders.
Even the average person is attempting to do their part to reduce their carbon footprint, which is good news. Environmental organizations are getting more involved, as are individuals. Because the artistic community could not ignore this issue, it has done what it could to help.
Many films, both fiction and nonfiction, deal with this subject on a regular basis, if not as the primary plot device. We can only pray that these videos will serve as a wake-up call and that there is still hope for the world. You can keep the struggle for environmental protection alive by watching these fantastic feature films and documentaries.
Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973)
One of the first films to tackle the topic of global warming head-on was “Soylent Green.” Because of the massive industrialisation of the 20th century, the apocalyptic images of overpopulation and pollution truly captivated people’s attention and imagination. On a planet where all natural food has been wiped out by genetically modified food, this film takes place in 2022.
People in New York City are starving and living in poverty because the Earth is overpopulated. Water rations and a mystery meal called Soylent are the only means of surviving. Thorn (Charlton Heston), a police investigator, investigates the murder of the Soylent Company’s president.
As he digs deeper into the case, he uncovers the world’s largest conspiracy involving the mystery food that most people take for granted as being essential to their life. Don’t be fooled by the film’s gloomy veneer; “Soylent Green” is a powerful environmental awareness film below the mystery.
Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
Some believe “Chinatown” to be Polanski’s magnum opus since it is a neo-noir masterpiece. Evelyn Mulwray (Jack Nicholson) hires unscrupulous private investigator J.J. “Jake” Gittes (Jack Nicholson) to spy on her husband, engineer Hollis Mulwray. After following Mulwray around, Gittes captures pictures of him with his mistress and then sells them to the media.
It all goes downhill from there when Evelyn Mulwray herself shows up to Gittes’ office and threatens to sue. Once Gittes discovers the body of Hollis Mulwray he knows he is in over his head and that the case is beyond his abilities, but he continues his investigation nevertheless.
As a result, Jake finds himself entangled in a web of deceit including murder, incest, and governmental corruption, all of which revolve around the city’s water supply. As the story unfolds, Gittes’s sources lead him to Mulwray’s business associate and father-in law Noah Cross, a shady and cunning old guy. Noah Cross is played by John Huston with a sinister elegance by Huston. However, the film’s environmental concerns are not to be overlooked in its neo-noir detective thriller.
Dersu Uzala (Akira Kurosawa, 1975)
No Japanese studio will touch Akira Kurosawa’s projects following the commercial failure of his most recent picture in 1971. Early in his career, Dersu Uzala’s real-life narrative inspired him, but he couldn’t figure out how to make it work in Japanese contexts. His film was made with the famed Soviet Studios of “Mosfilm” after he was repeatedly rejected by Japanese studios.
Because of the support of “Mosfilm,” he was able to shoot the film in its original Russian language rather than having to adapt it for the Japanese audience. First non-Japanese language Kurosawa film. During a woodland clearing project, Russian adventurer Vladimir Arsenyev searches for an unmarked cemetery where he claims to have buried a buddy three years prior.
Arsenyev’s 1902 surveying mission to the Shkotovo region of the Ussurya region is then reenacted on screen. Dersu Uzala, an indigenous trapper and hunter who offers to serve as their guide through the rugged frontier, is first introduced to the audience in the year 1902. Dersu, who the troops initially dismissed as an eccentric old guy with little formal education, quickly gains their trust and admiration after demonstrating his superior intelligence, sharp instincts, remarkable skills of observation, and profound compassion.
Repairs have been made to an abandoned house and supplies have been left in the form of an old birch crate. He uses evidence left behind to piece together people’s stories and identities. On a subsequent mission to the Ussuri River in 1907, Captain Arsenyev runs into Dersu Uzala in the jungle.
The lone hunter joins the rest of the gang and acts as a leader. The Captain invites Dersu Uzala to reside with his family in Khabarovsk City because he is older and has trouble seeing. However, the elderly guy is unable to adjust to city life and makes the decision to go back to the forest.
The video focuses on the intimate relationship between man and nature, which is sometimes greater than the bond between two people. In addition, Kurosawa tries to emphasize the power of nature as an unforgiving force, capable of subduing even the most vicious of beasts. Allegorically, “Dersu Uzala” depicts the environmental imbalance caused by unchecked human involvement.
An Enemy of the People (George Schaefer, 1978)
This picture was expected to be a masterpiece, given the illustrious cast and crew, but it was not. The movie is today considered a cult classic and receives generally positive reviews, yet it received a dreadful reception when it first came out. It is based on a play by Henrik Ibsen, a well-known Norwegian dramatist.
Arthur Miller, a well-known American playwright, adapted the stage drama into a film script. Steve McQueen, a famed Hollywood actor, portrayed the film’s protagonist and was intimately involved in the film’s creation. A vehicle film for him, this was designed to demonstrate the world how good an actor he really was.
Even still, Warner Brothers couldn’t figure out how to distribute the film, which was widely known as an action hero, so the movie had a limited theatrical release. In an unidentified Norwegian village, Steve McQueen plays Thomas Stockmann, a doctor and amateur scientist. The town is attempting to market itself as a destination where visitors may take advantage of the area’s medicinal hot springs and natural beauty.
Dr. Stockmann, on the other hand, discovers something unexpected. He learns that a nearby tanning mill’s stormwater runoff has seriously polluted the water, and he takes action. According to municipal officials, clearing up the mess would be too expensive and damaging to the city’s name, thus it should be kept quiet. Dr. Stockmann makes the decision to struggle for the public’s attention.
Few citizens support Stockmann’s environmental plan because they are more concerned with the tourist plan than they are with the preservation of the natural environment. “An Enemy of the People” is a well-acted picture that deals with topics that are relevant today.
The China Syndrome (James Bridges, 1979)
Kimberly Wells (Jane Fonda) is an opportunistic journalist who sees an accident at a nuclear power station while reporting on alternate energy sources. Wells, together with her cameraman (Michael Douglas) and the plant’s supervisor (Jack Lemmon), is determined to make the catastrophe public, but she soon finds herself caught up in a diabolical scheme to conceal the incident’s true impact.
A number of famous film genres, such as thriller and disaster flicks, are used into the film without deviating too far from the environmental issue. The hurdles Kimberly encounters on her journey to the truth will have a lasting impact on her both professionally and personally. The year was 1979, and the movie came out at a difficult period for the United States. The anti-nuclear movement in the country was sparked barely 12 days after the publication of the film, a real occurrence at a nuclear power plant.
6. Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982)
“Koyaanisqatsi” isn’t really a documentary at all; it’s more like a film in its own right. For those unfamiliar with the Native American vernacular of Arizona, “life out of balance” is the film’s title. Cities and various natural settings from across the United States are captured in slow motion and time-lapse for the film’s main focus. There is no conversation or vocalized narrative in this visual poetry; the tone is defined by the visuals and music that are juxtaposed.
The film’s goal is to disguise the environmental problem by presenting the audience with breathtaking images of nature juxtaposed against the frantic activity of a modern metropolis. Film is a sort of contemplation of our world, both natural and man-made. Once you get into the groove, you’ll be blown away by this flick.