Published on June 2nd, 2009 | by Harmonist staff9
By Harmonist Staff
On Friday, June 5, Home will be simultaneously released in theaters, on television, on DVD, and on the Internet. The creators’ hope is that it will reach as many people as possible.
The documentary about environmental issues, which was filmed across fifty countries and shot entirely from the sky in high definition, offers a powerful commentary on the major environmental and social issues challenging our world and calls for a new awareness that protecting the earth is indispensable. It is the result of a collaboration between the photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the producer and director Luc Besson, and Francois-Henri Pinault.
It is the first movie to be released simultaneously across all media and all continents. The simultaneous worldwide release provides as many people as possible with the opportunity to watch this profound documentary as a global collective. Any proceeds from the sale of merchandising products related to the film will be donated to the organization www.goodplanet.org.
According to the website, Home is also carbon offset. Meaning that all the CO2 created by the film’s production is offset by funding clean energy for those who have none. Now that is green.
We encourage everyone to watch it free on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/homeproject and then discuss it here on the Harmonist.
Other related videos can currently be found at the above link as well.
It seems like this movie is getting quite an audience on youtube: over 150,000 views last time I checked, and somewhere around 5,000 comments. I watched it tonight and I have mixed feelings coming away.
As promised, much of the footage was dazzling. I could not watch it in HD because of my internet connection, but still the quality was sufficient to view on a large TV connected to my computer.
Home offers up some —make that many— discouraging facts. The percentage of forests gone, rivers half dried out, raising temperatures, melting icecaps, starving people, and endangered species is overwhelming in many senses. I appreciated the strong tone that the narrator took at times, clearly indicating a departure from “objective” (read morally lazy) reporting in support of a distinct purpose. I was especially pleased to see the issue of meat revisited more than once, seeing as it is such a basic, yet important aspect of spiritual life.
Really, Home is quite a doom-and-gloom film. After about 70 minutes of showing the seemingly endless ways in which the world is in jeopardy—any one of which essentially telling me that I may see the end of the world in my lifetime—the narrator livens up for a 3-5 minute pep-talk about how it is too late to be pessimistic. If it was their intention to inspire optimism it may have been better to have more balance. I do not mean to detract from the undeniable reality of most of the claims in the film, and I acknowledge that the reality isn’t really balanced, but I think it could have more effectively served its stated purpose.
Seeing as the main name on this project, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is a photographer, my theory is that he let his aesthetic sensibilities eclipse his practical aims to a degree. The footage was beautiful but the only person you heard speak throughout the film was the one female narrator. Aside from being somewhat monotonous, I think that only showing real people from a birds eye view, as opposed to hearing them and seeing them up close, makes the issues less real to the viewers than they could otherwise be.
One eyebrow-raising aspect of the Home experience is that it is funded exclusively by PPR (a fact which they make well known), a French company specializing in luxury brands: Gucci, Puma, various jewel and watch companies, etc. While it is certainly a relative step of progress that companies are now pitching goods on the merit of being “green”, that against-the-corporate-grain child-of-a-hippie in me is still put off. I guess they had the money either way, and this was most likely a more wholesome investment than their alternatives.
Despite my negative comments (how can one not be kind of negative after watching this?) I completely think the film is worth watching. It certainly made me feel blessed and grateful that I am not contributing much to the realities depicted. Naturally those who are seeking out their home, their spiritual origins, will be inclined towards lifestyles that are sustainable. Therefore I think that is a worthy and more comprehensive cause. If liberation (mukti) is a by-product of bhakti, I would think environmental sustainability would be as well.
I would bet that this film will have some practical ripple-effect on society. Whether that effect will be widespread paralysis by fear or increased environmental awareness and activism, I am not entirely sure yet. I really do hope it’s the latter though 🙂 I encourage anyone who watches on youtube to not read the comments, unless you are looking for absolute evidence that we as a planet and species are in fact doomed.
Despite the “doom and gloom” aspect of this documentary, it is certainly a worthwhile watch. I appreciated the facts on livestock and its contribution to the devastation of forests and the consumption of grains which could feed millions all over the world. Gosh, if Americans just did away with fast food how much better off would the planet be! Yet somehow it’s just not that simple.
I am going to have my 11 year old watch it. He watched “Flow” and he understood and was practically affected by it.The other day as he was getting a glass of water, he held it up as if a prized possession and said, “So many people in this world would love to have clean water to drink.” That alone gives me hope for the future.Knowledge is a powerful tool.
Well said Nitia! I concur with much of what you’ve said. As I understand it the film maker’s intent was to contrast the beauty of the planet with the damage humanity has wrought on it, thus eliciting a stronger response. I also hope it will be a wake up call, but I have to admit I’m a bit pessimistic at this point. The global scope of the changes humanity has brought on require a total global commitment to fixing the damage. Unfortunately there are billions of people going as fast as they possibly can in the directly opposite direction, with no sign of changing course.
The narrator stated that humanity has at most ten years to deal with this or climate change will spiral out of control with completely unforeseen consequences. It may be too late to be a pessimist but I don’t see humanity as a whole becoming cooperative to the required degree any time soon. As a spiritual practitioner I see the root cause of the mess we’re in to be selfishness, a disease that material striving only inflames and whose remedy lies in a deeper understanding of the purpose of life. Will the desire to survive physically as a species bring about a revolution of turning within to look beyond physicality to consciousness itself? Possible but unlikely. Unfortunately I think many, many people are in for a very rude awakening indeed.
I thought the movie played the metaphor/reality of the sun out well along with that of water. I found myself naturally entering a venerable space in relation these aspects of nature so integral to life. Sun god, water god? Why not? Modernity is perhaps more than anything else a disconnect leading to an arrogant, sacreligious incredulity.
I thought the movie was too longwinded and skipped through it. The filming of the bits and pieces I saw are indeed very beautiful and as said before, I wouldn’t call the facts the movie presents uplifting.
All in all, with the soundtrack, the voiceover and the way of filming I’m skeptic of how much impact this movie will have. Though I support the message, the movie itself didnt captivate me. At the same time, I may be completely wrong because of the amount of press it received and the number of organizations/companies supporting it.
I guess I should give it a second chance.
Interestingly, I found that the format served its purpose very well. As I see it, the bird’s eye view was carefully thought out and made to work with the narrator’s perspective. The film started off with basically saying, “Let’s look at the big picture here. This is the world that you live in, this is what it needs to function, this is how we are interconnected and totally dependent. And finally, this is how you are destroying the system”. The story kind of pulled us out of our trappings to see more objectively, from a distance, what our local actions and lifestyles are doing on a global scale, all around the world. Once you look at the world from a visitor’s perspective it makes our current state of affairs seem even more insane. And for that purpose I think the bird’s eye view was a perfect choice. Personally it didn’t bore me at all. It was awe-inspiring.
I think it’s good to treat people with some doom and gloom every once in a while, if that’s actually the reality of the situation. It really doesn’t look too good and the speed that the destruction is going on is just amazing. The fact alone that the world’s population has tripled in 50 years is catastrophic.
That’s why I thought the so-called solutions that the film gave were disappointing, to say the least. As if solar panels and consumer decisions would save us from the trap we’ve gotten ourselves in! To me that made the whole edge of the documentary a little dull. First they gave this total honest look at the state of the world and then they shot themeselves in the foot (in terms of waking people up) by implying that we can keep our lifestyle as it is as long as we make some cosmetic changes. I guess you can’t say too much about how profound the change must be if you’re talking to the masses, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
Watching the first 70 minutes of the film, it became glaringly obvious to me that the problem goes way deeper and that there are fundamental distortions in the way the modern world views life.
The film was a perfect testimony to the pathetic failure that the human kind’s project of conquering over nature has become. The west has been so proud of its accomplishments and arrogant about its knowledge and now the dark side of all that is starting to push its ugly face through the carpet that the dirt was brushed under.
There is a little time to be pessimistic (before the whole thing goes up in flames) and unfortunately I’m pretty sure that the privileged people will not change their ways voluntarily. It has gone too far already, huge structures and hierarchies of exploitation are in place and change just doesn’t come that fast. Unfortunately some serious stuff will probably have to happen before things start really changing.
I too was disappointed with the solutions offered at the end of the film. The whole project of industrialized civilization was not brought into question; rather, the idea seemed to be that technology would get us out of the mess we’ve created and “civilization” can go on as it has but in a sustainable way. But there is a problem with that idea, as I see it. To paraphrase Einstein: “The problems we have created as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far cannot be solved at the same level as the level we created them at.” I acknowledge that humanity can be immensely ingenious when confronted with seemingly insurmountable odds, but I just can’t see technology being a complete solution to the problem. Seeing the extent of the damage humanity has done to the ecosphere I get the strong feeling that technological solutions will fall far short of what is required. I can’t see any way around some major lifestyle changes (i.e., downsizing) for those in developed countries–including questioning the fallacious idea of continuous growth within a finite system.
It’s good if you turn the sound off. 10,000 years of agriculture ? Where’ Cremo ? Smells of Al Gore. Hare Krsna
The fact that the movie does not share your religious sensibilities with regard to life’s origin and human history is not in my opinion reason to mute it. The question is, does it share your environmental sensibilities? If it does, you should be able to look beyond your religious differences with those who share common ground with you on this issue, which is arguably a spiritual/ethical issue. But it sounds like you voted for George Bush in 2000.
Michael Cremo can be found mostly on UFO and conspiracy websites.
With regard to “Hare Krsna,” Sri Caitanya taught that we should pursue suddha-nama. That means that it should be chanted humbly with a view to unite Radha and Krishna.