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||IMDB Rating: 7.0/10 from 3,479 votes
||Release: 20 August 2009 (New Zealand) /
||Genre: Documentary, History, War
||Director: Franny Armstrong,
||Stars: Alvin DuVernay, Babou Ceesay, Fernand Pareau, Jamila Bayyoud, Jeh Wadia, Layefa Malini, Lisa Guy, Mark Lynas, Pete Postlethwaite, Piers Guy
||Synopsis: This ambitious documentary/drama/animation hybrid stars Pete Postlethwaite as an archivist in the devastated world of the future, asking the question: "Why didn't we stop climate change when we still had the chance?" He looks back on footage of real people around the world in the years leading up to 2015 before runaway climate change took place. Written by Adela Pickles
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The Age Of Stupid has just opened on 78 screens across the UK - a
remarkable feat for a genre-defying independent feature made on a shoe
string, funded by ordinary households and distributed with a launch
budget of just £130,000. To put this in perspective, An Inconvenient
Truth opened in 2006 on just 18 screens and a typical UK-wide release
spends around £650,000 telling people to go and see their film.
So why all the fuss?
Four years ago McLibel director Fanny Amstrong and producer Lizzie
Gillett set about making a documentary called (at the time) Crude,
which charted the ugly side of the oil industry. Fast forward to 2009
and the project has finally emerged as a surprisingly human and
touching call-to-arms about climate change called Age Of Stupid.
The film opens in 2055 with Pete Postlethwaite, archivist of a ruined
earth, looking back at images of the present day, trying to answer the
question of why humanity didn't save itself when it had the chance.
Archival news material and animated sequences are used to provide
background and context, but the focus is on documentary stories of real
people facing the effects of our hunger for fossil fuels.
As a result, the film does not labour under the burden of attempting to
sway the undecided through facts and figures - though it's possible
that even Sarah Palin herself could not fail to be affected by the
story of Fernand Pareau, an octogenarian French mountain guide, showing
us the glacier he loves as it withers away before his eyes.
As we explore the ageing archivist's question, we encounter "not in my
back yard" anti-wind farm protesters, committed climate change
activists and an entrepreneur who dreams of ending poverty by starting
India's third budget airline. Blame is ultimately laid at the feet of
our culture of consumerism, and the implication is that profound social
changes will be required to survive the present age - poignantly
exemplified in a sequence involving Alvin DuVernay, a hurricane Katrina
survivor who, having lost all of his possessions, philosophically
reflects on what it took for him to realise what was actually important
At the time of writing, around half of the IMDb votes have given the
film a rating of 9 or 10 and around a quarter have given it rating of
1. This polarisation is not about artistic merit, but between those for
whom the film has deeply resonated and those who find it confronting
I've read some complaints about the film being preachy, and it is
certainly true that there is forceful criticism of say Shell's
operations in the Niger delta and the Iraq war. There is no attempt to
present any positive outcome of these interventions, but then I'm not
expecting a rush of filmmakers wanting to fill this particular gap in
In general the voices of dissent come from the mouths of those directly
affected, and indeed it is the human face of these stories that is one
of the film's engaging strengths. History's witness is not always the
great orator we want it to be, but over 90 minutes the film manages to
maintain a good pace and link the various threads together.
The Age Of Stupid has dispensed with convention in a multitude of ways,
not the least of which is the way it has forced its way onto our
screens, seemingly through sheer force of will alone. Ultimately the
merit of the film is not about the quality of editing or its
performances, but its transformational potential. I genuinely think
that many viewers will leave the cinema and, like Alvin DuVernay, start
to question the world which surrounds them, and it is this quality
which makes The Age Of Stupid a truly remarkable film.
Tags for The Age of Stupid Full Movie
, Babou Ceesay
, Fernand Pareau
, Jamila Bayyoud
, Jeh Wadia
, Layefa Malini
, Lisa Guy
, Mark Lynas
, Pete Postlethwaite
, Piers Guy
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