We aspire for a better world but are often absorbed with our own lives to take decisive measures. That is, until a film galvanises us into taking action. Our top five section this time lists the movies that are the toast of the film circuit and rousing to the cause of sustainable development.
- Avatar (2009, James Cameron): The human race never learns. They react, as they must, desperately to times of crisis and the need to plunder in the wake of scarcity of resources.So when the story begins in the futuristic setting of the 22nd century, where scientists and armymen disembark on Pandora to obtain the unobtanium, it seems like familiar territory.
The Na’vi tribe thrive because of their spiritual connect to nature, setting an example on how to form symbiotic relationship with nature. Ravage the environment and it will return the favour.
- Manthan (1976, Shyam Benegal): Inspired by Dr. Verghese Kurien, the founder of Amul, Manthan is a fictionalised take on Dr. Rao (Girish Karnad) overcoming suspicion, caste bias among other social hurdles to introduce a co-operative society dairy to be owned and managed by the villagers.
A classic, the film was made on a contribution of two rupees each from farmers of the co-op movement.
- An Inconvenient Truth (2006, David Guggenheim): Preachy for some, hard-hitting for others, An Inconvenient Truth is a must-watch for the impact of the global warming in today’s climate.
Interspersed with Gore’s private life to break the monotony of statistics, An Inconvenient Truth is the first documentary to win two Oscars – one for Best Documentary Feature and the other for Best Original Song (Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need to Wake Up”).
- The World According to Monsanto (2008, Marie-Monique Robin): Monsanto, the American multi-national giant, made strides in the agricultural sphere with its introduction of genetically-modified crops which are resistant to pests and chemical treatments without being detrimental to the environment.
The documentary refutes these claims, exposing the greater global conspiracy which ensures Monsanto’s domination in agriculture and also the adverse effects these crops have had on the farmers.
- Princess Mononoke (1997, Hayao Miyazaki): Thematically like Avatar, Princess Mononoke is about the struggle between the titular heroine (Yuriko Ishida) to defend the forest where she resides among wolves and gods while the strong-willed Lady Eboshi (Yūko Tanaka) cuts down the forest to sustain her Irontown.
It leads to a fiery battle and a happy ending, but not before a visual spectacle and a moral lesson tucked into the folds of a fantastical Miyazaki narrative.
The afore-mentioned films stand testimony to the fact that plotlines involving the environment and sustainability need not make for dull viewing. There are many which explore the themes of nature in greater detail but these top five are an accessible initiation into the issues that plague our ecosystem today.