Saturday, 16 July 2016

Tomorrow: NZIFF Review

Tomorrow: NZIFF Review


It's hard to imagine anyone leaving the New Zealand International Film Festival screening of Melanie Laurent's Tomorrow feeling anything other than inspired.

The doco's galvanising cry is to try and save the planet ahead of us all being wiped off the face of it in a forthcoming extinction event. The film-makers would have us believe that potential demise of the human race is a when not an if, and Laurent's wake up call came when Nature magazine published research into this in June 2012.

So, along with a small crew, they go globe-trotting in a style much like Michael Moore recently espoused in Where to Invade Next to see what ideas could be adopted at a local level and within people's communities to ensure that change comes.

Activists with communal gardens, experts with opinions on how to make a difference and an ease of directorial nous make Tomorrow upbeat and will see it succeed locally with audiences already attuned to the realities of wanting to do more.

Armed with ecological activist Cyril Dion, who does most of the on-screen interviewing, there is no denying the directors have the self-awareness and smarts to realise that audiences are already saturated with pieces trying to make a difference.

So by presenting a wealth of information with a clarity of vision vastly helps the genially presented documentary hit its message home.

It could probably stand to lose a little of its baggier run time toward the end and one senses there was an excess of material available, but by dividing the film up into chapters and keeping each section engaging, as well as injecting proceedings with a blast of humour, the inspiring simplicity of it all is quite simply inspiring.

It would be nice to see some talking heads from the governments tackle some of the reasons why things like major community gardens aren't more readily available and why land can't be freed up for others to use, but Tomorrow goes a long way to presenting solutions rather than just showcasing problems.

One senses it's a people powered documentary and loathe to get bogged down in the endless cycle of denial from the major corporations, but with a weight of evidence piling up, it would have been good to have seen the film-makers had tried to reach out for some reasons. Instead, Tomorrow's more interested in helping start some kind of people fuelled revolution.

From intercropping to better recycling, these are all solutions that are proffered and have proven to have worked in other parts of the world.

That alone is Tomorrow's major difference; a compulsive and compelling desire to show that each person can simply make a difference and Laurent and Dion never lose sight of that agenda.

Granted, there's no denying there's an agenda at heart here, and some may decry the liberal leaning intentions, but given there's also no denying the vastness of the problems being faced, perhaps Tomorrow with its non-didactic and digestible approach is a lot smarter than we all believe.

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