|Eco-Parisians at HOME: ‘It’s Too Late To Be Pessimistic.’|
|Friday, 12 June 2009 00:00 | Written by May Ngo | Blog Entry|
The Roussel family spread out their blanket on the grass and brought with them a picnic feast of wine, baguette (bread), saucisson (sausage), and of course cheese. When asked why they came to the outdoor screening of the film HOME at Paris’s Champ de Mars, the great lawn at the base of the Eiffel Tower, Gregoire Roussel, 45, replied, “It’s important to see the state of the Earth, the beauty as well as the destruction. It’s especially important for our kids to see this.”
HOME, Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s new film—simultaneously released in many countries on World Environment Day, expands on his acclaimed photography exhibition, Earth from Above. It is actually the first film from the photographer, and the anticipation before the screening became one of buzzing festivity as families and groups enjoyed a pique-nique in front of the giant screen.
As the sun set and the breeze grew chillier (this is a Parisian spring, after all), I wrapped myself in a shawl and waited with thousands of others for the film to begin. Arthus-Bertrand made a brief surprise visit into the crowd, causing a standing ovation and thunderous applause before being whisked away, but not before one man called out that he is a dieu vivant (living god).
Julie Valleron, 27, a volunteer at the screening, said, “Yann Arthus-Bertrand has created an opportunity for all of us to come together and celebrate the wonder of the Earth, as well as reflect on the impact of our actions. I’m proud to be volunteering tonight. I want to do the little that I can to help raise awareness.”
As the film was finally projected on the big screen underneath the Eiffel Tower, it began with a narrative tracing the origins of life on Earth from dust particles to stunning images of reefs, deserts, mountains and cities, to more disturbing images of polluting factories and oil platforms. The film emphasized the interconnectedness of everything that exists on Earth, including the role that humans play in its ecology. Our significant negative impact on the planet means that we must ultimately shoulder the responsibility for its healing. As highlighted by the volunteers handing out cotton wristbands that said, “It’s too late to be pessimistic,” the film effectively showed how action is required now in order to save our precious planet.
The film can be viewed for free on YouTube until June 14th and his popular photography exhibition, Earth from Above, continues its worldwide tour this year, moving from Aleppo in Syria, to Mumbai and finally to New York (Battery Park) in 2010.
When asked his reaction, Cyril Misrahi, 52, said, “It was a great film that made me think about the planet and what we are doing to it—and how we must change the way we live now in order to leave something for the next generation.”
[Note: World Environment Day, June 5 each year, was created by the UN General Assembly in 1972, with this year’s theme—"Your Planet Needs You - Unite to Combat Climate Change"—reflecting the upcoming climate-change convention in Copenhagen later this year. - Ed.]