On The Green Carpet

Blog by Ray Philp | 11 Mar 2009

From Greenpeace on whaling ships to green piss on Peter Mandelson, climate change has been on the agenda, if somewhat peripherally, long before the ‘carbon footprint’ entered the mainstream vernacular.  However, the level of media exposure given to a number of recent natural disasters has given rise to a proliferation of features that puts the spotlight on our diminishing habitat.  Al Gore’s acclaimed climate change documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is perhaps still recognised as the flag bearer of the genre.  As a result of this increased exposure, the issue of climate change has enjoyed a significant sway in the traditionally tentative areas of business and politics, and the trend is set to continue as Franny Armstrong’s The Age of Stupid is bestowed a world premiere on 15th March in both the Belmont in Aberdeen and the Ocean Terminal Vue in Edinburgh, beamed live from Leicester Square. 

Peter Postlethwaite is the last man alive in 2055, on an Earth that is supposed to be post-apocalyptic but perhaps more closely resembles a morning stroll in Pilton.  This heady mix of animation, documentary, and drama challenges its audience with a very simple question – why don’t we stop climate change? 

Well, Hush might be a good place to start.  Leaving carbon footprints like some sort of maniacal coal mining rambler, Mark Tonderai’s gas-guzzling highway thriller features William Ash and Christine Bottomley as a young couple on the road who are being tailed relentlessly by a mysterious vehicle.  This has more than a whiff of Steven Spielberg’s debut feature Duel, so expect similar fare here. 

Bronson, which the Film Blog has previously discussed here, is given a general release this Friday.  The film plays out like a psychotic blur of violence and fantasy as it follows Charles Bronson’s misanthropic deeds.  But at least he’s not shanking the polar ice caps, nor is he tearing up the M8 in a 6.3 litre Land Rover.  In fact, the only aspect of Bronson that’s pure criminal are his conspicuous facial handlebars, no doubt putting a few circus ringmasters to shame.

Vaudevillian moustaches aside, crimes against humanity do not come more egregious than Charlize Theron’s transformation from GQ cover girl to man-hating munter in the admittedly excellent Monster.  Thankfully, Theron doesn’t retain an elaborate pretence of ugliness to gain favour as she headlines alongside Kim Basinger in Guillermo Arriaga’s directorial debut, The Burning Plain.  Much like his previous involvements in Amores Perros and Babel, this is a complex, multi-strand feature that is a meditation on love, forgiveness, and redemption.  There is a sense that the trick is starting to get old, to the point that these type of films become a genre within themselves.  To this end, the prospect of assigning it a label brings to mind an unpalatable irony, since these films dazzled precisely because they defied categorisation in their infancy. 

Over at the Glasgow Film Theatre, Three Monkeys is given a spin on the reel from the 13th March.  Winning an award for Best Director from the Cannes Film Festival, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film is a tale of a Turkish family tearing itself apart, implicitly colluding to ignore all their problems at the expense of their sanity. 

Meanwhile, highlights at the Edinburgh Filmhouse include the continuation of its Kubrick retrospective with a screening of Spartacus on Sunday 15th, as well as Japanese feature Live Today, Die Tomorrow!, a film based on real events that chronicles the life of an adolescent Norio Nagayama’s frustration at the oppressive forces that trigger his murderous campaign in 60’s Japan.  Kaneto Shindo directed the film a mere two years following Nagayama’s arrest after extensively researching the subject with those who were close to Nagayama. [Ray Philp]