Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sundance London 2012 - CHASING ICE

CHASING ICE may well be the most important movie since AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH.  And I say that as a self confessed greedy capitalist bastard and sceptic about all social activism, causes, and anti-corporate whining.

For me, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH was a movie that raised awareness but also raised questions about the veracity of climate science. Was the climate really changing and if so, was human activity the cause?  And most importantly would changing human activity  reverse the damage or is it already too late?  What CHASING ICE does is, for the first time, give powerful, irrefutable, visual, easily understandable evidence that climate change is happening, and at a pace that is frightening.

Jeff Orlowski's documentary does this by basically shadowing a nature photographer called James Balog, in his worse time lapse photographic melting glaciers.  That all sounds much simpler than it really is. The doc (as penned by Mark Monroe -THE TILLMAN STORY) shows exactly what a labour of love it has been.  Balog and his team have had to hike up to some of the most inaccessible and hostile places on earth to install cameras to take the photographs - designed bespoke equipment to withstand the gruelling climate - and at no small cost to Balog's health.  It becomes clear that Balog didn't start out as a climate change evangelist. He was just a guy who took amazing photographs of nature, and somehow stumbled onto this story.  But once he found it he pursued it with a passion that seems at times reckless, and produced visuals that deserve to be seen by the widest possible audience.

CHASING ICE answers he question of whether climate change is happening. It is. Naysayers need to just get over it.  That said, CHASING ICE doesn't get to the part about whether governmental action to alter human behaviour would reverse the change.  That's fine: that's not Balog's job.  But it sure does throw down the gauntlet to the rest of us.

The run-time is 76 minutes.

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