RACING EXTINCTION (film review)

Could there be a documentary made that would reveal the immensity of the phenomenon of extinction of 10,000 species a year (some say that is a low estimate), to reveal a most moving and haunting last mating call of a male bird captured on tape sung to a female who was never to be found?

To show how these activists used hidden cameras and plain old fashioned sneakiness to create sting operations of a sushi restaurant selling whale (for dinner) [Yes, you read this properly, whale…] and the numerous endangered oceanic species that get killed and sold on the black market under the guise of ingredients in the world of ancient chinese medicine.

The filmmakers also get involved in filming themselves by being onboard the hand made ship in a rural seaside village (off the shore of Indonesia) where their livelihood depends on the ability to kill the manta ray (as an example). We actually see a stunning kill of the beautiful creature (with a man with spear jumping from the small ship onto the back of the Manta where the struggle to survive is viscerally felt). Next scenes we see the entire community involved in the cutting up of the fish, women and children transporting, selecting, filing away certain parts, etc. We also see its part of the villagers survival. Later in the film we see the same villagers watch a film in their community where others are making a living by not killing the Mantas but by bringing tourism to their village (showing them not only Mantas but other endangered ocean species as well).

polarbearextinction

We see all of the above and more. We also see the activists’ use of the latest state of technology to hide cameras (and audio devices) on their bodies as they walk into restricted areas, typically in China. We see a film being made that filters out everything except the carbon emissions which is not only uncanny but to be able to see the rather disgusting blue flames and gaseous clouds emit from homes and trucks and planes and cars, to see what we normally do not see… thereby canceling out the notion that “what we dont see won’t hurt us”.

What impressed me was showing footage of both the bad and the beautiful on large areas and buildings to very large audiences at site projects in large cities as art shows revealing this unspoken subject of extinction but not always the scary stuff but the beauty that we are destroying… the dancing mantas, the butterflies, the nighttime film clips from people like Louie Schwartzberg (whose film ought to be out soon, see here: https://movingart.com/).

This is happening. This isnt going away, eventhough we may not like what we see. We get to feel what it’s like, we get to see the bravery of the activists and the excitement when something changes! They answer the questions of what needs to happen to us, what and how do we get moved, inspired and involved… love and care for what is left during our life time. I just read a report that says humans ourselves will be extinct in 100 years… But does info help the cause? Did you feel anything? Is it too far into the future to matter? What if it were 50 years or ten.,. would we do anything? Would we have a campaign like the Bernie campaign for presidency that is growing in harmony and inspiration and purpose? What moved me most during the watching of the film was the last mating call from the male bird, the Kauai O’o, with no more females to join in the sexual dance. That hit home; that hurt. Not even sure why… Imagine. Can we? (see video excerpt here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRaC2Rx3BVY)

Yes, sometimes one needs to see the brutality and the horror of what is actually taking place at such a rapid rate for us to stand up and do something.

I’m so glad that the film also included how eating meat is very instrumental in creating climate disruption and just the methane released alone emitted from cows is more carbon infested than the carbon emitted in the entire global transportation area. Sigh, another film to wake us up or put us to sleep… or to even wake us up for us who imagine we know enough not to need to see another film?

What is also truly disheartening is that only one person attended (to see the screening in Santa Barbara a few days ago by way of an eco-psychology emailing list… No one came from my nearly 1,000 SB films list that I had sent out weeks ago. Perhaps everyone has already seen it? I dont know but what exacerbates my frustration about using what I think is a way to wake us up: film… The films are being made (more often than ever) and I simply want to share them in community style so we can converse about the topic afterwards rather than most film screenings in typical theatre settings where we get up and walk out and possibly share our frustration (or depth of feeling) with a friend over at a nearby cafe or bar. Where else can we go to share our feelings, hear from others, comment about what others are doing, how do we make our lives more “sustainable” or regenerative so we can be examples for future generations… so we can leave this planet knowing that we were waking up and not going back to sleep about the wonders and craziness of our world?

Next film screening in SLO at the SLO Library, 7pm, May 7th Saturday. $6-$9. Discussion afterwards… Bring snacks… Details: http://www.hopedance.org/events/eventdetail/1128
or facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/988234484599005/
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