Hunters of the South Seas (2016)
Hunters of the South Seas is a series of documentaries, by writer Will Millard, exploring the relationships between humans and animals in The Coral Triangle, in the Western Pacific. It documents a life where the luxury of vegetarianism is out of reach, and people must sustain their way of life through hunting.
Studying the lives of Whalers, this document touches on some of the moral arguments in favour of Whaling, considering how a sustainable way of living becomes corrupted by trade. It’s a breathtaking, sometimes terrifying documentary that really frames the privileges of the Western world.
The Mirror (1975)
Perhaps a strange choice for Earth Day, but The Mirror perfectly frames the contrast between the industrial and natural world. The world Tarkovsky brings into being is really quite beautiful. This film leaves you longing for the countryside.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Another strange choice, perhaps, considering this film is not “environmentalist”. However, this film is entangled in its environment on a subtle but essential level. Reflecting the alien landscapes faced by American troops in Vietnam, an ecological reading of this film highlights the ways in which the American military decimated Vietnamese agriculture, and the country’s landscape. Scenes in the Jungle and on the Beach perfectly illustrate how our destruction of the natural world is inseparable from the destruction of the individual.
First Reformed (2017)
Starring Ethan Hawke as a bleak Protestant minister, First Reformed doesn’t immediately appear to be a film about the environment. But upon the introduction of Amanda Seyfried’s pregnant Mary and her radical environmentalist husband, the film tackles the question of dealing with one’s personal crises during a time of climate change. A stunningly edited and directed film, it will leave you feeling a bit bleak and questioning everything – so all in all, a very worthy film for Earth Day.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
An animation classic, Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke and its environmental story is still relevant over 20 years since release. Following young prince Ashitaka’s story during a war over limited resources between consumptive humans and the forest gods, this beautifully animated film will have the audience sympathising with both sides of this epic battle. You’ll, no doubt, be left considering humanity’s impact on nature.
Following the sentient trash compactor WALL-E on a deserted Earth reminiscent of an endless junkyard, on the surface WALL-E is the love story between our garbage collecting hero and the robot EVE (more popularly known as ‘Eeevaah’). Yet, the film expertly weaves environmentalist messages into this kid’s film with the relationship between humans and their home planet explored whilst natural life is lauded. This is a feel-good film with a great message made to inspire the next generation of environmentalists.