Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (2018) Poster

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Disturbingly Beautiful
Raven-19692 October 2018
With 12,000 ton and ten story high machines on the move in German forests, pools of lithium gleaming in the Atacama Desert sun, 10,000 elephant tusks on fire in Kenya, furnaces glowing in the world's largest heavy metal smelter in Norilsk and Lagos growing to 20 million inhabitants, we tipped the balance of the earth. The Holocene Epoch is done and the age of mass extinction, planet altering industry and swift climate change gaining momentum.

This astonishing, mesmerizing and disturbingly beautiful documentary presents stunning images and commentary from around the world with the hope that human tenacity and ingenuity might assume a new direction. It is not accusatory but grounded in humility and open-mindedness (what humanity needs for any shift in consciousness). It is not a vision or rumination on the future but what is real and already here. What a wakeup call! Grounding moments of humor and insight, such as when Russian women talking about little flowers blooming in barren rock and Russian men joking about their work, brighten the film. I wish there was more depth in places, but overall Anthropocene is insightful, revelatory and compelling. Seen at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival with the directors in attendance and providing input for this review. They recorded 300 hours per one hour of film.
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Unique and timely
proud_luddite11 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Continuing in a series of Canadian documentaries (preceded by "Manufacturing Landscapes" and "Watermark"), "Anthropocene" travels to many regions of the world to show the impact of humans on the planet and the planet's adjustments to such changes.

There are a variety of places and situations covered in this fine film. Many include factories as well as outdoor excavations. The movie's success lies in its "less is more" approach where narration is minimal as it allows the brilliant camerawork to let the viewers reach their own conclusions as quietly as possible.

Some visuals stand out: the sidewalks and restaurants of Venice during a flood; people scavenging a landfill site in Kenya; a massive collection of elephant tusks in designed piles, also in Kenya; the partial destruction of a forest in British Columbia; and, most shocking, watching the destruction of a beautiful, old, historical church in a small German town. (In a strange way, it was a relief to know that my home city of Toronto is not the only place dedicated to destroying its architectural heritage.)

Near the end, the minimalist style starts to wear a bit thin but this does not in any way diminish the film's important and timely message. It is both educating and moving.
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