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mouton
06-09-2006, 06:23 PM
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH
Directed by Davis Guggenheim


The crowd is hushed in anxious anticipation as the man they wait for makes his way through the maze of the backstage corridors. The fervor builds as the man stops to shake anotherís hand, pose for a photograph. We can only see him from behind. We can barely make out who it is. Until, the wait comes to its end. Ladies and gentlemen, the man youíve all been waiting for, The self-described man who used to be the next president of the United States, Al Gore! And, the crowd explodes in a respectfully enthusiastic show of admiration and reasonable applause.

In AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, former Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore, plays host to a lecture series audience on the impending impact global warming will have on our planet in his and your potential life time. Although it may sound odd in passing, Goreís lecture series has been given around the globe, hundreds of times. In the time since he lost the bid for presidency, he has rededicated his life and passion to the subject of global warming and made it his priority to increase the awareness of its importance to people everywhere. Contrary to what one might expect from a lecture given by Gore, for example a long snooze, this particular series is actually thoroughly engaging. Of course, the subject matter itself is compelling enough as Gore walks us through image after time-lapsed image demonstrating a shockingly sparse amount of ice where once there was plenty and numerous graphs, be them bar or line, showing significant hikes in temperature and carbon dioxide emissions in the earthís atmosphere from recent years. No matter the topic, one needs a compelling host to make sure the message hits where it should. The shock of the advanced progression of global warming may end up taking a back seat to the complete personality readjustment of Al Gore as he is charming, witty, sarcastic without being obnoxious and ultimately very comfortable, both with the material and himself. One canít help but wonder why he didnít demonstrate this side of himself when running for the presidency in the first place.

One also canít help but wonder that because filmmaker Davis Guggenheim breaks up Goreís seminar with allusion to Goreís past from his upbringing to the election debacle in the state of Florida in 2000. The goal is to demonstrate how Gore came to be crusading for global warming awareness. Drawing a link between the death of his sister from lung cancer due to years and years of excessive cigarette smoking despite the knowledge of itís likely tragic outcome and the general populationís ignorance towards the effects of global warming and our need for tragedy to inspire action is one thing. Drawing a link between a near-fatal car accident his son had when he was very young and Goreís conviction towards the importance of human life makes sense but detracts from the focus of the film. Goreís motivation or interest in the subject seems almost entirely irrelevant as the film is about the presentation, not the guy giving it. Not only does this filler detract but it also taints. Bringing up Americaís decision to ultimately vote George W. Bush into office seems somewhat damning, as if to suggest that global warming is not getting any better because of you America. You voted for someone who doesnít care about the environment and therefore disasters like Hurricane Katrina, which the film says was much worse due to the warming of the ocean water it traveled over between Florida and New Orleans, might not have been as bad had you voted in a president that cared about the planet. Iím sure Guggenheim isnít trying to make such strong accusations but the implication is still made through his editing and the film falls off track occasionally as a result.

AN INCONVENEINT TRUTH is being dubbed the ďMust-SeeĒ documentary of the summer, picking up where past hits THE MARCH OF THE PENGUINS and FARENHEIT 9/11 have left off. I have a difficult time agreeing with this praise. I do believe it to be must-see but this is because the content is important and the facts need to heard. And albeit an enjoyable experience, the content cannot be all that is judged as it is still a film and it is one that is flawed.

oscar jubis
06-11-2006, 07:52 PM
Originally posted by mouton
Goreís motivation or interest in the subject seems almost entirely irrelevant as the film is about the presentation, not the guy giving it. Not only does this filler detract but it also taints. Bringing up Americaís decision to ultimately vote George W. Bush into office seems somewhat damning, as if to suggest that global warming is not getting any better because of you America.

Apparently then An Inconvenient Truth is about the message and the messenger, hints at the differences in environmental policy and its application between the major parties (why do you think few environmentalists are Republicans?), and points out how America contributes to global environmental problems. I fail to understand how any of this makes the film "flawed".

mouton
06-11-2006, 11:14 PM
Given Gore's passion for getting the message out there, I can't imagine he would want the film to come out as being about both the message and the messenger. Unless he's planning to run for office again. I felt the film flawed because the message should have been enough to build the film upon without it also a being a publicity vehicle for Al Gore. Again, I'm not stating I believe Gore is using this as that; I believe he is well intentioned and determined. Merely that I believe the filmmaker was reaching for content at times when global warming is plenty of a topic in itself.

cinemabon
06-12-2006, 12:22 AM
The way Gore explained it on the Tonight Show and Charlie Rose, is that he agreed to have the film made about his lectures for two reasons: One, to increase public awareness. Second, to donate the proceeds from the film to the organization promoting awareness. Judging on the reaction so far, I'd say he eloquently accomplished those goals. Now, if only someone will listen...

chelsea jubis
06-12-2006, 01:12 AM
Hi! I'm Chelsea, Oscar's daughter (for those of you who don't know or forgot)! I'm back! *Laughs*

Saturday, my boyfriend Joseph (16 yrs.) and I (15 yrs.) went to watch An Inconvenient Truth. We thought it nothing. We're just two kids going to watch "the environmentalist movie with Al Gore". We were about to find that our presence was appreciated more than we thought.

"Two for An Inconvenient Truth.", he said to the woman at the ticket booth. She let out a long, loud gasp, as if this were the most amazing thing she'd ever seen. "Wow! It's a great movie! I'm so glad you guys are watching it!" she exclaimed. We were taking our student I.D.s out of our pockets (so we could get the discount), but we were interrupted by the woman. "I already charged you as students with a discount. No need for identification." she said. We were surprised. This movie theater would never let you get away with a discount if you didn't show your student identification card. Instead of the normal student price ($8) she gave us an added discount, so we paid $6 per ticket. After we paid she slipped us some buttons that read "I saw the TRUTH." and some bookmarks. Joseph, obviously taken back by our good fortune, replied, "Wow! Thanks!"

"No problem. We need more young people to watch this movie!" ,she said to us, "You guys have a grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat day!" As we walked away it struck us: not many "young people" are going to watch this movie are they? Not many "young people" are going to care huh? These thoughts gave me even more reason to cry as I watched what would happen to the planet if we didn't give up some of our creature comforts and start caring about our CO2 emissions.

I felt the film was extremely informative. I was very impressed with the presentation. For example, the way Gore related the problems we're facing with the environment to real-world situtations such as, almost losing his little boy. It made it all feel very personal. It screamed "THIS IS HAPPENING TO YOU!". I, for one, was scared senseless; and I feel that's a good thing. We need a bit of a scare to be able to react, and we do need to react.

Chris Knipp
06-12-2006, 01:53 AM
Welcome back, Chelsea! I was begging your dad to coax you onto the boards of Filmleaf again, and here you are. Haven't seen this movie yet, but soon will.

Chris Knipp
06-18-2006, 01:54 AM
Bringing up Americaís decision to ultimately vote George W. Bush into office seems somewhat damning, as if to suggest that global warming is not getting any better because of you America. You voted for someone who doesnít care about the environment and therefore disasters like Hurricane Katrina, which the film says was much worse due to the warming of the ocean water it traveled over between Florida and New Orleans, might not have been as bad had you voted in a president that cared about the planet. Iím sure Guggenheim isnít trying to make such strong accusations but the implication is still made through his editing and the film falls off track occasionally as a result.No doubt about the fact that Gore's strong presence is a problematic aspect of the film, but you are overinterpreting the facts he gives, which we know, about Gore. He is not implying that it's our fault because we didn't vote for Bush and America didn't choose Bush, the Supreme court and the election authorities of Florida did. There is no "America's decision to ultimately vote George W. Bush into office." I and all of us who did not support Bush but voted in a majority for Gore never made such a decision. It was not "America's decision." But it is true, one would hope, that Katrina might have been handled better if Gore had become president. I will give my review below.

Gore's role is problematic, but not enough to detract from the importance of the message. That is what we need to focus on. In fact I believe Gore is right to be totally himself. A good advocate shows his commitment by revealing its genesis, such as his son's near-death. And a good speaker gives emotional weight to his advocacy by making his involvement personal.

Chris Knipp
06-18-2006, 02:02 AM
Davis Guggenheim: An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

This man has something to tell us

Review by Chris Knipp

Calling Davis Guggenheimís An Inconvenient Truth ďjust a film of a slide lectureĒ is the ultimate reductivism. Al Goreís lecture around which the documentary is built is an impressive performance, but also the result of a lifetime of passionate commitment to the environment.

Weíre conditioned not to realize that Al Qaedaís worst attack is like a mosquito bite compared to what Mother Nature can do when aroused. As Gore offhandedly puts it, 9/11 was a terrible event, but maybe we ought to worry about other threats besides terrorism. Thereís a scientific consensus that climate change is currently dramatic, and that the major element in it is human and therefore reversible. Itís also obvious that the US is the major contributor to global pollution, but is unable to deal with climate-caused disasters when they come, as the material and human damage done in the Gulf region last year by Hurricane Katrina vividly illustrates.

In Guggenheimís documentary, Gore summarizes most of the major evidence of the warming phenomenon, with emphasis on melting ice and variations in carbon dioxide and temperature levels over the whole detectable range of geologic time. He explains what these changes are causing and predicts further future consequences Ė- draught, floods, deaths, homelessness, species extinctions and increased disease, destruction of cities and loss of arable land (the world population has tripled in Goreís lifetime, one of the main contributing causes to this problem). Most dire and dramatic of the possible human outcomes: flooding of urban centers and settled lands resulting in displacement of as many as 100 million people.

Gore says Ďthis is a moral issue, not a political issue.Ē Since itís become clear that the current US administration favors bad science and fundamentalist Christianity over up to date fact, and global warming is nothing if it is not an up to date fact, letís say itís a scientific and a political issue that overrides politics with its moral imperatives. To do nothing now is to doom future generations to horrible consequences, even extinction.

According to Gore, it's a major misconception that there's serious disagreement among scientists about climate change and the human role in it, a myth perpetrated by popular journalism. He cites a check of over 900 scientific articles related to global warming that found 0 that questioned its existence; and another check of 500-odd popular articles that showed 53% presenting it as uncertain. (The truth is that some scientists disagree, but they are in a small minority.) Another claim Gore deals with is that the US auto industry is holding its place by having bad emission standards. Given that GM and Chrysler are failing, this argument appears specious.

Weíre like the frog in water slowly heated up to boiling that doesnít know to jump out, Gore says. Though the climate changes in fact are extremely rapid, they arenít perceived as such, but Gore hopes we will still be jolted, as his father was jolted to stop raising tobacco when his older sister died of lung cancer.

As a Congressman, Gore tells us he thought his fellow politicians would see the urgency of ecological destruction. But they didnít. They tend to set aside any matter that isnít prominent in the minds of their constituents. Al Gore quotes Upton Sinclair: "It is hard to get a man to understand something, if his living depends on him not understanding it." Apropos of this, Gore gives the notable example of the Bush environmental official who altered scientific statements, then, forced to resign, went to work for Exxon Mobil the next day. Itís interesting to contrast Goreís obvious clarity about science with those other leaders who favor bad science that they donít understand. A Gore administration would have been very different, one hopes, and his joking introduction, "You know me: I used to be the next president of the United States" is a sad reminder of that.

The film opens and closes with a beautiful country scene in summer by a riverbank with everything quiet, verdant and blooming. It ends with the wish that our grandchildren donít have to look back and wish weíd done something.

Despite this filmís accomplished quality -- its sharpness and conviction, its smooth flow -- it has some obvious drawbacks. One of these is its focus on Goreís own personal history, and even the fact that Gore himself is unabashedly at the center of it. His unifying presence, and his forthright identity, make everything a political as well as scientific and moral issue. The film might even be seen, and in some circles is being seen, as a push to get him re-nominated by the democrats for President. But as has been pointed out, the dems lock-step voted against Kyoto ratification. In fact Gore comes though as calm, passionate, rational, and smart; heís not the people-pleaser that Clinton is but may have more real warmth. Gore has become more outspoken, strong, free, his own man since his ďdefeat.Ē And that shows in his appealing speaking here. But still unfortunately Goreís reputation as numbingly boring, though belied by this film, may put off some people from watching it. Those who ignore that reputation will be surprised at the wit, humor, and personal honesty of the man -- and at his hope.

Gore believes that there is hope, but in this film there is more about the basic phenomenon and less about what we can do about it -- which is almost presented as an afterthought, since such suggestions for individual action are peppered through the closing credits rather than contained in the body of the future. There could be more about popular campaigns to change policy as well as about the policies of other nations' governments. Overall there is more emphasis on the problem than on the response.

And there is the same danger most committed documentaries have: of preaching to the converted, and alienating conservatives and non-believers in the facts the more because itís the last democratic nominee for president presenting them. And yet for Gore to pretend political non-affiliation would be un-candid. Itís essential to his commitment that he should be all he is in his presentation.

This is a powerful film, whatever its faults. And that not all will be swayed by it doesnít make it unimportant but underlines the need for it.

mouton
06-18-2006, 07:32 AM
Hi Chris ... good review. I particularly enjoyed your criticism of what we can do about global warming coming across as an after thought. Before Gore even began to mention that there were things we could all do to effectuate change, I sat in the theatre and wondered if he would. That is probably because I an the converted, or at least among them.

I apologize for my remarks about America's decision which, as you've corrected, was not in fact theirs. I will plead Canadian ignorance here ... which is somewhat refreshing to say as I often just feel Canada is an extension of the US so it's good to affirm we are not. I have a tnedency to see the 2000 Bush win more broadly as a win and nothing more, rather than remembering the intricacies of that win. I still feel the film has an accusatory tone that is not as pointed as it could be, leaving itself up to (mis)interpretation.

Chris Knipp
06-18-2006, 10:34 AM
I guess if you're from Canada -- which I was overlooking -- the "intricacies" of the 2000 elections wouldn't be as painful or obvious to you. The fix was in on many levels. It wasn't a clean job. Gore should have won. And this time, that sure has made a difference. Nobody can say the democrats are just like the Bush administration. Whether they'd have supported Gore's environmentalist policies if he had won however, is uncertain. But Gore wouldn't have been in the pocket of the oil industry, and favored bad science or fundamentalist Christianity down the line, that's for sure. I understand what you mean about the film not making the point clearly enough, but it's speaking chiefly to a US audience I guess, at that point anyway, and we know, so he's just being a gentleman and a good sport about things by not pointing an accusatory finger -- not saying I wuz robbed, as he well might, but merely referring to what happened and commenting, "that was very hard for me."

oscar jubis
06-18-2006, 05:24 PM
We Wuzzed Robbed is the title of a Spike Lee short about the election. I loved An Inconvenient Truth and more than ever I feel extremely guilty about being a Floridian who voted for Nader (I felt the Democrats had abandoned/neglected us liberals). There were almost 100,000 of us. If 500 of us had voted for Gore, the world would be a better place today. I'm convinced of that.

Chris Knipp
06-18-2006, 05:38 PM
They told you not to vote for Nader. It was a bad year to do so. But you meant well. Anyway 100,000 wasn't enough to turn the tide for Gore. What you need is to buy the Diebold Co. I didn't know about that Spike Lee election movie, have you seen it? Where was it shown?

I know that the election aftermath was thoroughly covered in another political documentary about the administration, but I can't remember which one. Can you?

oscar jubis
06-18-2006, 07:43 PM
That's an easy one. It is Fahrenheit 9/11.
Spike Lee's short is included in the portmanteau film called 10 Minutes Older: The Trumpet. There are segments by Lee, Jarmusch, Kaige, Herzog, Wenders, Kaurismaki, and (my favorite) by Victor Erice.
Gore would have won Florida if he had gotten roughly 500 extra votes from clowns like me. If he had won Florida, he would have been President of the USA.

Chris Knipp
06-18-2006, 10:56 PM
Wow, just 500?! I had forgotten.

I guess Fahrenheit 9/11 is so much a part of me I don't even think of it. I am not ocnscious of being familiar with that collection of which Spike Lee's We Wuz Robbed is a part, but my using that phrase suggests that subconsciously, I was aware of it. Thanks.


How does climate change strike you as a person who lives in a very warm part of the country to begin with?

Chris Knipp
06-18-2006, 10:59 PM
Your comment saying the film is about the message "and the messenger" and that that doesn't make it "flawed" is astute and I wish I had paid more attention to it and perhaps cribbed from it. That is a point aI haven't seen made very much as you make it. I wish you'd developed it further. But it's all here, somewhere. That's the nature of threads.

Howard Schumann
06-19-2006, 02:04 PM
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

Directed by Davis Guggenheim (2006)

Although the Bible says "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free", in today's media-dominated corporate America, knowing the truth and informing others about it may only lead to personal attacks, thwarted careers, and deep denial, especially if that truth threatens powerful interests. David Guggenheim's film of Brother Al's Traveling Salvation Show, An Inconvenient Truth, does not hold back, however, from telling us unpleasant truths about the effects of global warming, including the fact that ten of the past fourteen years have been the warmest in our history. Brother Al of course is Al Gore, former candidate for U.S. President in 2000 who lost the election to George W. Bush by a hanging chad.

The film features a warmer and more spontaneous Gore who, in recreating the multimedia presentation he has shown all over the world, takes a passionate stand on the environmental issue he claims should have the highest priority in our political agenda. In his slide show, Gore displays the disappearing snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the shriveling lakes in Africa, and the disappearance of glaciers in Glacier National Park. He asks us to look at unprecedented hurricanes fueled by warming currents in the Gulf of Mexico, temperatures in excess of 120 degrees, and an increasing envelope of air pollution in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Shanghai, China. The film is a personal essay that includes reflections on his sister's death from lung cancer and his son's automobile accident at the age of six. It is also a spirited call to action.

While it may be uncertain whether mankind is simply contributing to very long-range climate instability or is solely responsible, Gore presents a strong case that the environmental choices we have made have contributed to the current climate crisis. He also doesn't hesitate to point out that the U.S., with 5% of the world's population, contributes 30% of the total CO2 emissions and that the present administration has filled high environmental positions in his government with representatives from the oil and gas industries. According to Gore, if we do not reverse the current trends, our future may see an increase in deaths from global warming to 300,000 a year, the rise of sea levels that could inundate coastal cities, an increase in heat waves and droughts, new diseases and crop-attacking pests, and an extinction of species and disruption of existing habitats.

While some may scoff at the dire warnings, history abounds with evidence of sudden climate changes that may have wiped out entire species or even civilizations. While suggesting that political action could force manufacturers to curb pollution and persuade Detroit to manufacture more fuel-efficient cars, Gore's message is mostly directed at each individual and the energy choices they must make. The closing credits also list hundreds of things that each of us can do. Political will, Gore says, is a "renewable resource" and, if given the proper respect, the film can be an important catalyst for change.

The reality, however, is that we live in a world filled with fear, greed, and corruption and it may require more than correct energy choices to effect change. The crisis it seems is not only in our atmosphere but also in our values, in the things we hold to be important and unimportant, which are reflected in our economic system. We cannot simply sit back and "go gentle into that good night", but must "rage against the dying of the light" whether it takes the form of environmental choices, political action, or simply an expanded awareness of our potential for love and compassion. An Inconvenient Truth entreats us to "reach the candle in the heart of man, waiting to be kindled" and, in our own way, to re-light the flame before it is extinguished forever.

GRADE: A-

oscar jubis
06-19-2006, 06:08 PM
Originally posted by Chris Knipp
Your comment saying the film is about the message "and the messenger" and that that doesn't make it "flawed" is astute. I wish you'd developed it further.

Well, Chris, I don't have anything insightful to add. It's just natural to consider the messenger whenever we evaluate any theory or news or other type of communication. We all do this at the micro and macro level. Given a constant text, it makes a significant difference whether we find it on the pages of The Inquirer or The New York Times. I've tried to keep an open mind about the focus on Gore (a small percentage of the total duration) being a flaw because you, mouton and J.R. Jones (Chicago Reader) brought it up. But I haven't been convinced by the rationale provided:

"The message should have been enough to build the film upon without it also being a publicity vehicle for Al Gore" (mouton)

"One of these (drawbacks) is its focus on Gore's own personal history". "The film might even be seen, and in some cases is being seen, as a push to get him re-nominated..." (Chris Knipp)

"Zooming in on Al Gore as a person seems to work against the movie's greatest strength, his ability to frame the problem in a gigantic wide-angle shot" (J.R. Jones)

oscar jubis
06-19-2006, 06:23 PM
Originally posted by Chris Knipp
How does climate change strike you as a person who lives in a very warm part of the country to begin with?

Miami has some very unique qualities as a young, vibrant, welcoming city. It'd be hard for me to imagine living elsewhere. Yet, from May to October, I often find myself daydreaming about doing precisely that. The palpable generalized anxiety regarding the threat of hurricanes and the discomfort one experiences being outdoors are the culprits. There are many cities that register higher temperatures than Miami (Arizona's cities being the hottest in the country) but factor in the humidity and this beautiful city is lonely at the top as the muggiest city in the USA.

Chris Knipp
06-19-2006, 08:17 PM
Howard--

Well done. You make the points better than I do, I think. I like your interpolations and quotations. I'd have to disagree with the way you stated a couple things though.
While it may be uncertain whether mankind is simply contributing to very long-range climate instability or is solely responsible, Gore presents a strong case that the environmental choices we have made have contributed to the current climate crisis. You're offering the wrong either/or here. Those who reject climate change as a problem would not be interested in saying man is "simply contrituting" to anything. Gore (I think) is saying not that we are solely responsible but that we are the major cause. Important difference. I'd also not have begun by referring to the global warming presentation as "Brother Al's Traveling Salvation Show," which seems to me too frivolous for such a crucial topic. As a more minor point, I don't think the closing credits list "hundreds of things" we could individually do. Dozens, perhaps. But your basic point is right, that the emphasis is on individual rather than collective action. In general the film is much better on the problem than on the solution, about which it's relatively unspecific.

Oscar--

You didn't exactly answer my question about Miami. Okay, it's the muggiest city in America, but how does that make you feel personally in that context about climate change?

About the issue of messenger/message, I meant to say that the presence of Gore as the messenger is a "flaw" not to me, but in presenting the issue to less sympathetic members of the public. I'm not saying it's a problem for me, but that it may be a problem for other people. I'm thinking about the film's viability as propaganda for a cause. It would be good if we could have a less politically partisan famous person present the case. Whether or not you're preaching to the choir partly depends on who the preacher is.

Howard Schumann
06-19-2006, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by Chris Knipp
Howard--

Well done. You make the points better than I do, I think. I like your interpolations and quotations. I'd have to disagree with the way you stated a couple things though. You're offering the wrong either/or here. Those who reject climate change as a problem would not be interested in saying man is "simply contrituting" to anything. Gore (I think) is saying not that we are solely responsible but that we are the major cause. Important difference. I simply said that there was uncertainty as to whether or not man was solely repsonsible for global warming or if there was a long term climate instability that our use of fossil fuels was exacerbating. I know that's not how the sides line up but that is what is true for me.
I'd also not have begun by referring to the global warming presentation as "Brother Al's Traveling Salvation Show," which seems to me too frivolous for such a crucial topic. I don't think it hurts the cause to stay light about it rather than go into a panic since I feel there is perhaps a spiritual component to possible physical Earth changes that we are as yet only dimly aware of.
As a more minor point, I don't think the closing credits list "hundreds of things" we could individually do. Dozens, perhaps. Yes perhaps it was a bit of an exaggeration since I haven't counted them.
But your basic point is right, that the emphasis is on individual rather than collective action. In general the film is much better on the problem than on the solution, about which it's relatively unspecific. Agreed.

oscar jubis
06-19-2006, 09:00 PM
Global Warming is turning tropical depressions into minor hurricanes, and minor hurricanes into major hurricanes. Hurricanes devastate communities in the Caribbean and along the Southeastern and Gulf coasts of the USA.

The Mean Season (1985) referred to summers in Miami. Summers in Miami have gotten longer and meaner because of global warming. I love this place. My daydreaming about leaving is only caused by the discomfort I experience outdoors in Miami five months a year.

The knuckleheads who dismiss global warming won't be swayed by anybody. I don't see how Gore-as-presenter and his backstory would deter neutral individuals (like Chelsea and Joseph before they watched it) from becoming convinced global warming is a huge problem that requires urgent attention.

Chris Knipp
06-19-2006, 09:15 PM
Let's put it this way: the presence of Gore and his detail about his life emphatically covered in the movie (which are fine with me) can be used as fodder to make fun of the issues by opponents. I don't think one can call one's own daughter "neutral." But I'm not talking about neutral parties.

oscar jubis
06-19-2006, 10:45 PM
Sorry to burst your bubble, daddy, but Joseph and I we weren't neutral before watching the film. We're flaming liberals and hippies!! However, I didn't know as much about the effects of global warming before watching the film.

By the way, this was Chelsea.

HorseradishTree
06-20-2006, 02:07 AM
Originally posted by oscar jubis
By the way, this was Chelsea.

Never would have guessed, since Oscar is so fond of using radiant colors in his posts.

Chris Knipp
06-20-2006, 10:17 AM
Howard's summary:
While it may be uncertain whether mankind is simply contributing to very long-range climate instability or is solely responsible, Gore presents a strong case that the environmental choices we have made have contributed to the current climate crisis.

Howard's response when I questioned this summary:
I know that's not how the sides line up but that is what is true for me. Hmmm.....

From the summary topping
a web anthology of New York Times articles (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/globalwarming/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) about global warming:
The average surface temperature of earth has increased more than 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1900 and the rate of warming has been nearly three times the century-long average since 1970. Almost all experts studying the recent climate history of the earth agree now that human activities, mainly the release of heat-trapping gases from smokestacks, tailpipes, and burning forests, are probably the dominant force driving the trend.

cinemabon
06-24-2006, 02:09 PM
Gore, appearing on Late Night With David Letterman last night, addressed the critic issue that the film promoted him personally.

Gore stated he went to a lecture in college, during which, one of the first person's to propound the theory, presented it during class. At the time, Gore stated he had never been so moved by anything in his life. When he was first elected to Congress, he went before a committee with the idea of introducing a resolution to study the subject and met with immediate disapproval. Stonewalled in Congress, and by many industry insiders Gore tried to pursuade over the years, he started this lecture tour to help educate others.

He emphatically stated the message is far more important than his status as presidential wanna be. In fact, he felt his attachment to the message gave it extra publicity, which it has. Therefore, he's at least got us all talking about it. In light of the overwhelming drought in the west this year, the timing could be more apropos.

oscar jubis
07-10-2006, 05:56 PM
It may be more accurate and useful to classify An Inconvenient Truth more as an essay-film than as part of the more general category of documentary. It's really a type of essayistic discourse on film, a personal attempt to work out a reasoned line of discourse on the problem of climate control and on the problem of how to transmit a certain urgency to others regarding the need to solve this global problem. The latter problem has a strong personal point of view (or a single voice, as typical of literary essays), in that the film investigates Gore's developing consciousness regarding climate control and his various attempts and methods of conveying his views (and those of the vast majority of the scientific community) to the public and to the powerful elites. I welcome and applaud the film's strong personal p.o.v. for many reasons, among them the publicity generated by Gore's involvement (as cinemabon states).

Chris Knipp
07-10-2006, 07:28 PM
It's really a type of essayistic discourse on film, a personal attempt to work out a reasoned line of discourse on the problem of climate control and on the problem of how to transmit a certain urgency to others regarding the need to solve this global problem. With all due respect, that's a nice, but rather wishy-washy, way of putting it. Gore is pasionate about the cause, and he's trying to get others to come on board. Essay is a nice word, but it's still a documentary, and a committed one marked by strong advocacy. Why do you think he goes around the world with this lecture? He's not trying to find something, he's trying to convert and galvanize and excite and even scare the hell out of people, and he's succeeding, from what I've heard.

Many documentaries are biased and many are personal. ONe of my favorites of recent years is My Architect. (http://www.chrisknipp.com/writing/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=222&p=222#p222) The possessive pronoun indicates the personal focus and it is very much an exploration of self as well as of Louis Kahn's career. I don't see An Incovenient Truth as any different from Michael Moore's films. We may once have thought documentaries were something about Eskimos, or butterflies, or the digestive system. What is Uncovered--an essay? Documentary is a broad category, distinct from fiction. I think An Inconvenient Truth is very well done and is doing very well, except for the fact that some activists are impatient with Gore's failure to question the system more and propose more protest and activism.

oscar jubis
07-11-2006, 01:27 PM
You forgot to say what was rather wishy-washy about my quoted passage. If the only two categories are fiction and documentary, An Inconvenient Truth is, of course, a documentary. But let's move beyond the obvious. The film meets the criteria for inclusion within a more specific and rarer type of film, the film-essay. I propose that the seminal work of the genre is Alain Resnais' masterpiece Night and Fog and that Chris Marker has been its foremost practitioner.

I was relieved by your bringing up Nathaniel Kahn's film, which indicates you understand what I'm talking about. As the complete title makes it clear, My Architect: A Son's Journey is a first-person oddysey to solve the mysteries of his father's life and to grapple with the problem of how to achieve a sort of communion with a father who was mostly absent from one's life and who is no longer available. My Architect is a film-essay. On the other hand, Michael Moore's films often take the form of essay-films to gain impetus only to abandon the "first-person grappling with an issue" for more generic and no less effective approaches. The Moore film freshest on my mind (because I rewatched it only months ago) is Roger and Me. For about 20 minutes, Moore depicts his experience of living in Flint,Michigan and how he views the way his hometown has changed over the years. Thereafter, he continues to narrate, but the personal and subjective stance is phased out.

An Inconvenient Truth is very much about how Mr. Gore became increasingly concerned and gradually more knowledgeable about the climate crisis. ("My professor at...", "I called my friend...", "I went on an expedition to Greenland and...") It's also about his struggle to find a way to communicate a certain urgency about the problem and the process of refining his message ("I proposed legislation...", "I met with...", "I attended the conference on..."). A subjective, personal "single voice" is maintaned throughout the film, even when he is presenting pure scientific data, Gore discusses how he came upon the information, how it impacted him, and how it guided him along a path to knowledge, social consciousness, and personal responsibility.

Chris Knipp
07-11-2006, 04:47 PM
Yes, I see what you're saying. Certainly as a sub-category yours has much merit. I'm inclined to think though, that if the issues in An Inconvenient Truth are of overriding importance, which I think they are, then calling the film simply a documentary gives it more weight to the public.

oscar jubis
07-11-2006, 08:11 PM
Yes, people understand what a documentary is, and have had positive experiences with the genre offerings over the past few years. Call this papaya a fruit as long as people taste it.

Chris Knipp
07-11-2006, 08:18 PM
Exactly.

cinemabon
12-10-2006, 01:32 PM
How ironic that the current controversy involving this film should include the science teachers of America getting grants from a certain Texas oil company to promote the many uses of oil in energy but have them refuse the offer of FREE copies of this movie.

See current postings on http://www.huffingtonpost.com regarding this matter

bix171
10-27-2007, 07:32 PM
Al Gore's sincerity is probably the most compelling reason to be won over by "An Inconvenient Truth"'s persuasiveness and it's persuasive enough to be required viewing in every high school science class in America. Gore's one-man lecture with slides is fleshed out by the personal reasons he was drawn to the topic (and was probably instrumental in achieving feature length) but only occasionally does it come off--and in a subtle way--as self-serving; he takes only a couple of potshots at the Bush administration and his call to political arms stops far short of his announcing a return to the Life. But it's hard not to be aware of his refusal to call any player out, whether it be the corporations in large part responsible for polluting the atmosphere, or a country other than the U.S. (going, it seems, out of his way to praise China--China!--for such initiatives as mileage limits); these oversights provide fodder for conservatives who might accuse this film of being nothing more than grandstanding and the groundwork for a political resurgence. Perhaps his desire to have it both ways--a warrior and political sophisticate--is what attracted the Nobel committee to him in the first place.

By the way, I don't think I've ever seen a movie where the closing credits made me cry. Until now.

oscar jubis
10-28-2007, 10:03 AM
Good to hear from you, bix. I personally don't fault Gore for "his refusal to call any player out". His approach here is to describe the dire situation as of today and to point at possible solutions. There's plenty of film material that assigns blame (The Corporation is brilliant) and points out how countries like China contribute to the climate crisis and the desecration of the environment (China Blue, Manufactured Landscapes, etc.). I think Gore's film was fairly well-received by those "unconverted" to the idea of global warming because of his positive approach.

Closing credits that made me cry? Schindler's List and Dogville.

bix171
10-28-2007, 08:43 PM
Good to hear from you, bix.

Thanks, Oscar. A new position at work has kept me away from film and writing about it (and I'm still finding personal time difficult to manage) but I have been keeping tabs on the posts as best I can.

Closing credits that made me cry? Schindler's List and Dogville.

I forgot "Dogville" though. Good catch. All I remember about "Schindler's List" is the coda where the film turns from black and white to color as the stones are placed on Schindler's grave. I don't recall the credit crawl but I'll take your word--and, as I was crying throughout the entire picture, I probably was hysterical then too.

oscar jubis
10-28-2007, 09:08 PM
It's great you keep tabs on the posts. I'm always interested in your informed opinions, so please share them whenever time permits.
That coda at the end of Schindler's List moves me to tears every time. It's a perfect ending. If I remember accurately, the credits begin to roll midway through it.

Johann
10-09-2014, 11:10 AM
I have to say that the global warming problem isn't fixable. Gore says there is hope, but I have to ask him: Al, you were Vice-President and you got nothing done on this "issue" (CO2 levels in the earth's atmosphere), and the worst culprit is the USA -the Nation you and Hillbilly Clinton were supposedly "Leading". Sure, you're leading the charge (I guess) on getting the word out, but don't you think it's a bit like saying "we should have negotiatied" when you were blown off the earth with a nuclear bomb.
I've heard in online articles from reputable scientists that Gore is exaggerating the crisis of CO2 levels.

The problem isn't fixable, unless you get rid of the Illumnati and "elite" asshole goofs who created this situation.
And we know that will never happen. Nobody has the Will.
So kiss your grandkids goodbye. And hand them a life preserver.
And check the actual numbers on CO2 levels and the threat that poses.

cinemabon
12-19-2014, 11:16 PM
"Global warming is a myth because I was cold today. Also, world hunger has ended because I ate a sandwich." Steven Colbert