Earth Protectors: Review

Earth Protectors film

Earth Protectors: Review. By Joe Muldoon

A stark warning of what we stand to lose and a startling elegy to the great expanse of what we have already lost, Earth Protectors is environmental artist Anne de Carbuccia’s solo full-length debut. Opening her film with a touching anecdote of her father recanting his tales of oceanography with the famed Jacques Cousteau, de Carbuccia invites us into her world, an artistic mission to show the beauty of our planet, partly through showcasing the unseen worlds within our wider world.

Leaving ‘time shrine’ installations in the places she visits –atop mountains, below the ocean, amongst forest trees– de Carbuccia uses visceral symbols of time and choice in order to show the terrifying and devastating effects of the anthropocene; namely, the epoch in which human activity has begun to have a crippling impact upon the planet.

The film’s namesake, the Earth Protectors, are people from around the world at the frontlines of the climate crisis, those who seek to educate others and to help dampen –or at least delay– the worst effects of climate change through local conservation efforts. Very reassuring is the director’s decision to prominently feature indigenous voices, those already facing the first waves of anthropogenic environmental damage.

The documentarian takes great care to ensure that these indigenous stories are told, that we see what they are losing – not only their ancestral homes, but also their cultures. In the mountainous region of Upper Mustang in Nepal, we meet the villagers of Lo Manthang, which shares a border with Tibet. Tashi Bista, a local activist and filmmaker, expresses his bemusement of those who describe climate change as a matter of belief, not of fact – a painful fact that is affecting Tashi’s homeland.

de Carbuccia’s film is as fascinating as it is gut-wrenching. We as the audience are not granted the ability to be passive viewers; whether we accept it or not, we all play our own individual parts –however large or small– in climate change, and the artist challenges us to confront our personal responsibility of stewardship, putting the onus on us to become Earth Protectors ourselves. Watching many documentaries is a matter of interest, but watching Earth Protectors is a matter of necessity.

By Joe Muldoon.

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