Pompoko, Avatar... 13 eco-friendly films to watch during the holidays

Pompoko, Avatar… 13 eco-friendly films to watch during the holidays

⋅ Avatar 2: The Way of the Water

Avatar 2: The Way of the Waterby James Cameron (2022).

Avatar 2: The Way of the Water, currently in cinemas, is a worldwide success. It takes us to a marvel of underwater scenery. In this second opus, the Na’vi Jake Sully and Ney’tiri, who have formed a family, are sought by vengeful humans. They leave the forests of Pandora and take refuge within the tribe of Metkayina, who have a close relationship with the ocean. Their skin is turquoise and they live in harmony with coral reefs, lush mangroves, winged crocodiles, jellyfish and giant butterflies. Unfortunately, the over-armed and transhumanist men are ready to do anything to annihilate Jake Sully, even if it means slaughtering his welcoming sea, its ecosystems and the inhabitants who cherish them.

⋅ Goliath

Goliathby Frédéric Tellier (2021).

Devastated by the death of her partner contaminated by pesticides, Lucie, a young farmer, immolates herself at the foot of the tower of a powerful agrochemical company. His suicide leads Patrick, a lawyer specializing in environmental law, and France, an activist in an anti-pesticide collective, into a fierce battle against the agrochemical lobbies. Lobbies embodied by Matthias, as cynical in his professional life as he is tender in his family life. Inspired by the case of Monsanto Papers »this film brilliantly dissects the strategies used by pesticide manufacturers to instill doubt about the dangerousness of their products. Any resemblance to actual events or people is neither coincidental nor unintentional. »warns the director.

⋅ Captain fantastic

Captain fantasticby Matt Ross (2016).

Ben Cash devotes his life to raising his six children in a remote forest in the United States. The days are spent picking wild plants, hunting, and reading, in the evening, studies of quantum mechanics at the corner of embers. This universe changes the day when the hospitalized mother, Leslie, ends her life. To attend the funeral, the small family is forced to leave their forest cocoon and rub shoulders with consumer society. One road movie biting, which humorously questions the social norms of our capitalist societies.

Read our 2016 review.

⋅ Being with the bees

be with the beesby Perinne Bertrand and Yan Grill (2021)

Shot on the side of bees, this documentary by Perrine Bertrand and Yan Grill brings us close to these formidable insects. Close-ups of open hives and pollinating bees give us a glimpse into their daily lives, not avoiding the problems they face such as pesticides and global warming. By getting to know the alternative projects of beekeepers and researchers who live in harmony with bees, we come out well informed and full of hope.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

⋅ Chicken Run

chicken runby Nick Park and Peter Lord (2000).

Released in 2000, the animated film chicken run – Where Chickens on the run — would he be the precursor of Prison Breakchicken coop version ? Prisoner of a pen in the middle of the British countryside, Ginger – the Mickaël Scotfield of chickens – is bored and multiplies the attempts to escape. Without success. Until the day when Mr. and Mr.me Tweedy, his farmers, abandon the sale of eggs and embark on the industrial production of pies… with chicken ! It will be necessary to redouble efforts to sabotage themselves, with the help of Rocky, a rooster and boastful who prides himself on knowing how to fly. A hairy adventure.

⋅ Dark Waters

Dark Watersby Todd Haynes (2019).

A lawyer who has become the worst nightmare of the powerful chemical group DuPont: this is the story – true – told in Dark Waters. The American film features Robert Bilott, a lawyer specializing in the defense of the chemical industries. Arrested by a farmer whose herd of cows has been decimated, he discovers that the countryside of his childhood has been poisoned by a factory belonging to the DuPont group, the region’s largest employer. The lawyer leads the investigation and discovers that the waters are contaminated by discharges of perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA), a substance used to produce the Teflon in our stoves [1]. For years, Robert Bilott fought to expose the actions of the company and lifted the veil on a global health scandal. Today 99 % of the planet’s inhabitants have traces of this molecule in their blood.

Read our article on the health scandal that inspired this film.

⋅ Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Windby Hayao Miyazaki (1984).

An immense forest with toxic spores covers the Earth, the aftermath of the pollution caused by a devastating conflict. Humanity survives with difficulty in a few enclaves, fearing the advance of the forest. The Valley of the Wind is one of them, protected by the incessant air currents. Nausicaä, princess of this small agricultural kingdom, tirelessly explores this lethal and magnificent jungle in search of a cure for this devastation. But the war ends up catching up with this isolated country, putting it in danger. Nausicaä who manages to escape the clutches of the empires will do everything to bring peace. The secret to survival may lie deep within the forest. A masterpiece of Japanese animation, as beautiful and incisive as the day it was released.

⋅ The Cloud

The cloudby Gregor Schnitzler (1998).

Janna-Berta is at school when the civil defense sirens sound. A Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster has taken place in the nearby town, right where her mother is away on business. As recommended by the radio, the 14-year-old girl barricades herself with her little brother in the cellar, but a call from their mother asks them to leave town to escape the radioactive clouds. Better to have strong nerves for this film of German origin, inspired by a novel by Gudrun Pausewang from 1987, which reminds us of the real danger of nuclear accidents.

⋅ Microcosmos, the grass people

Microcosmos, the grass peopleby Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou (1996).

Have you ever dreamed of seeing the world from an insect’s perspective ? Mission accomplished with this sensational documentary, released in 1996 and awarded several Césars. Filmed with cameras accurate to tenths of a millimeter, Microcosmos takes us into the fascinating world of looper caterpillars, rhinoceros beetles and other stag beetles, where our long legs and gigantic hands should never have allowed us to go. An enchanting walk in the middle of wild grass and swamps, which leaves us with the impression of having six legs, two pairs of wings and antennae.

⋅ Woman at war

woman at warby Benedikt Erlingsson (2018).

Iceland, its icy moors, its lunar hills… and its polluting multinationals. In this film, presented in 2018 at the Cannes Film Festival, filmmaker Benedikt Erlingsson paints the portrait of a fifty-year-old woman fighting against a local aluminum giant. A choirmaster during the day, Halla sabotages the industrial installations that are devastating her territory in her free time. As her struggle reaches its climax, she learns that a long-filed adoption application has been successful. The environmental warrior is then faced with a dilemma: to continue her political fight, even if it means ending up in prison, or becoming a mother. A very beautiful film on commitment and its intimate repercussions.

⋅ Okja

Okjaby Bong Joon-ho (2017).

In the mountains of Korea, a giant, genetically modified pig is raised for 10 years by a child and her grandfather. But now, the multinational that entrusted them with the beast intends to recover it. To show it, compare it, and above all, market it to eat it. An unacceptable fate for the young girl who embarks on a fantastic quest to free Okja, between outbursts of communication and conspiracies by animal activists.

⋅ Pompoko

pompokoby Isao Takahata (1994).

A marvel of Japanese animated cinema, Pompoko recounts the adventures of a band of tanukis, mischievous spirits of the forest trying to save their territory from urbanization at all costs. Derail the cement mixers, turn into a monster, infiltrate humans to better scare them… All strategies are good to push back the city and let the savage prosper. A political fable full of humor and poetry, accessible to all ages.

⋅ The Snow Leopard

The snow pantherby Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier (2021).

This is the story of a delicate and patient hunt at the top of the Tibetan plateau. That of a fleeting panther, an elusive ghost in the color of snow-covered rocks. In this documentary released in 2021, director Marie Amiguet follows photographer Vincent Munier and author Sylvain Tesson on the trail of the mysterious feline. Filled with sumptuous images, the film makes us discover the art of tracking in the hollow of the peaks. The human being there is made very small, and the immense beauty.

Read our interview with director Marie Amiguet.

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