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The Age of Stupid

Spent a fantastic-if-occasionally-soggy weekend in Nevada City, California, roaming from venue to venue at the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, watching new films and re-watching a couple recent classics. We also showed two films – TERRA ANTARCTICA and the ‘premiere’ of WHAT WOULD DARWIN THINK? Man v. Nature in the Galapagos – to great response. My favorites were two: THE AGE OF STUPID and PICKIN’ AND TRIMMIN.’ The former, by British director Fanny Armstrong, is a look back at 2008 from the vantage point of 2050. The big question in retrospect becomes “What were you guys thinking, to have acknowledged environmental ills but done nothing-to-little to stop or cure them?” Thus, the Age of Stupid. (The line itself is spoken by a Louisiana oilman who loses his home to Katrina.)

‘PICKIN’ is a much smaller film, a short about the goings on at a simple North Carolina barber shop where musicians also gather to play (mandolins, guitars, violins) on a regular basis. The wry comments of the pair of barbers who host the shop – interviewed on a bench in front of their shop, waving to passersby as they gab – suggest that in some parts of the world little has changed in the past fifty years which in this case is a good thing. The focus is on community, and a weekly ear-lifting haircut.

I also saw for a second time the moving film about dolphin slaughtering in Japan (THE COVE) and a bio-pic of Sea Shepherd chief Paul Watson, (PIRATE FOR THE SEA) amazing for its collection of archival footage of Paul over the past thirty-plus years. While you may argue Paul and Sea Shepherd’s tactics, you cannot contend with his commitment: He’s been espousing the same message since the mid-1970s, to any cameraman or reporter who will listen!

Tonight, we’re off to the Sonoma Environmental Film Festival, to show our films again and hopefully to see a few new ones.