We are consuming more and more. What price will we pay?

 

A powerful theme this year is our steadily increasing consumption of resources. We buy things we do not need, and choose quantity at the expense of quality. Who pays the price for our excessive consumption? The films in this category reveal the need to carry huge amounts of goods across the oceans, causing a problem of global proportions. They show what it looks like when plastics are sorted in China or when fabrics are dyed in India. And they ask you how often you need a new iPhone and what it means for our planet and those who make them. 

The documentaries in the So-called Civilisation category this year mainly bring to the surface the grim consequences of our insatiable demand for more new products. In the film Death by Design, for example, you learn that your computer is made of heavy metals, such as lead. Someone had to work with the metal – perhaps today he has cancer or maybe his child was born with a disability. You will learn that the lifetime of some models is deliberately low in order to be able to constantly market new products. And you will learn that this isn't talked about much and that it can be different. If you like to think globally, this film is for you.

Some documentaries do not need a lot of words to communicate something to you. Among the visually more distinctive films is Machines, which is about how wonderful coloured cloth is produced in Indian factories by people who are basically an exhausted mechanical component of the production process. The film Plastic China powerfully captures the story of little Yi-Jie, who works with her family in a sorting plant for plastics from Europe, the USA and Japan. They sleep on the plastic, use it for heating, and from the discarded sheets cut out pictures of things that they will never have. This is one of the films for which we have created an educational side programme. A workshop entitled Plastics will be held in the Audience Centre in the Lucerna Gallery with recycling artist Veronika Richterová, who manufactures art objects out of plastic.

Another film – Seed: The Untold Story – will be accompanied by events in the Audience Centre, which will try to get visitors interested in gardening and planting seeds. The documentary explains that over the last century 94% of plant species have disappeared, mainly due to large-scale cultivation with chemical fertilisers and genetic modification. The ten largest agrochemical companies now control two-thirds of the global market for seeds. Seeds, the origin of life, are presented in the film with awe, as the bearers of life and as time capsules that preserve what has been, which through trees, fruit and other seeds transfer this wealth to future generations. At a workshop for the production of seed bombs you can meet people from the Kokoza non-profit organisation, which among other things promotes composting and urban gardens.

Finally, we recommend the film Freightened: The Real Price of Shipping. It is very likely to show you things you did not know, because what is happening at sea, in international waters, is usually not reported in the news. For example, fish caught in Scotland are shipped to China, where they are filleted, and then shipped back to Scotland for packaging and sale. The price for the customer remains low, but that price is paid by the people working in horrific conditions on the cargo ships. And there's more. Ships have become the most common way of transporting illegally sold weapons. Half of all drugs are sold through transport by sea. Only 2% of containers pass through inspection, while the contents of the others remain unknown. This is a shocking film, which you'd do well not to miss this year. 

 

Other films on this topic:

Nuclear Neighbour

Bugs

Theater of Life

Angry Inuk


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