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Worth Watching

October 30, 2009

Over the past few days I’ve been alerted to some amazing movies. From dolphin hunting in Japan to garbage collecting in Egypt, I think these films will shock and inspire. Some of them are difficult to locate in theaters since they are small independent films. I advise emailing the distributor or organizing a screening to increase your chances of seeing these incredible films.

Garbage Dreamsgarbagedreams

Three teenage boys survive by roaming the streets of Cairo and recycling the city’s garbage. Even without modern recycling facilities these street recyclers are diverting 80% of the city’s trash from landfills. But everything changes as globalization sets in and recycling is outsourced to global companies (who will only recycle about 20% of the waste). The community holds meetings about what to do, some propose starting their own organization while others think the global companies will surely wipe them out. A film that debuted at South by Southwest to critical acclaim, this movie will make you rethink the things you throw away.

Grist’s take on the movie

Garbage Dreams Website

coveThe Cove

After working with the dolphins who played Flipper in the popular 1960s TV show, animal trainer Ric O’Barry has decided dolphins should no longer be held in captivity. Along with a team of filmmakers, he ventures to Taji, a small fishing village in Japan where dolphins are forced into a cove, captured and shipped to aquariums or killed for meat. The Japanese authorities are none too happy about Barry’s invasion of the area marked “danger keep out” and his crew must devise ingenious ways to document the atrocities. After much lobbying, O’Barry and his team successfully convinced the Tokyo film festival to screen the movie. The Japanese government is outraged at their film, which used illegal methods to get the footage, and a lawsuit may be pending against O’Barry. This eco-thriller is generating enormous buzz and brings light to a previously invisible industry.

New York Times article about The Cove

The Cove website

No Impact Man no impact man

Somewhat in the style of Julie Powell’s “Julie and Julia Project” or A.J. Jacob’s The Know it All, Colin Beavan tries to go an entire year without having any impact on New York city. He and his family get rid of their TV, stop using electricity, don’t buy new products, eat local and don’t use any form of transportation for an entire year. The result? An inspiring tale of a family that is healthier and more connected than ever before. The movie is based on his blog of the same name and last week the Huffington Post hosted No Impact week to get people to try out the minimalist lifestyle themselves.

Theater information

Review of the movie from Variety

NPR Article about No Impact Man

Excerpt of the book No Impact Man on NY Times

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 9, 2009 7:57 pm

    Great list.

    On a semi-related note have you read “Waves & Beaches” by Willard Bascom? He was one of the pioneers of oceanography. Most of his work is out of print now, but for a long time Waves and Beaches was a classic on dynamics of ocean surfaces presented in a way accessible to laypeople.

    My copy’s in storage and it’s been many years since I read it, but I still remember in one of the final chapters in one of his books, his mentioning the problem of garbage disposal in municipal dumps and then suggesting that the wide-open ocean could be a better substitute!

    I took it to be one of those crazy, mid-20′th Century ideas that was floated about without properly understanding its eventual impact. But still, it was striking to see someone who so lovingly studied and worked in the ocean actually bring up such an idea. Not sure how many people actually acted on it at the time but I imagine some were influenced by his opinions.

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