Right, I am fresh back from the Cinema (Odeon Harrogate) after seeing a premier screening of the film How To Change The World, a biographical documentary of the early days of Greenpeace. I admit it, I am no qualified film critic – but think of this as www.poopshoot.com from the Kevin Smith film Dogma – where everybody has their own opinion and, normally, it is crass.
Well, what did I get from the film How To Change The World? Essentially: revulsion & hope.
Why? Why the revulsion? Well, the film is rated Certificate 15 yet shows images of the slaughter of whales and skinned & disembowelled seals. Why did I feel hope? Because of the people risking their life to stop the slaughter of whales and the skinning of seals.
The documentary paints the founding fathers (yes, they were men – white & bearded) as a group of flower children who became sea-bikers. There was very much a Flower Child influence in the early days – for example; the consulting of the I-Ching to determine the fate of their second outing (to stop factory whaling). This methodology continued until the founding of Greenpeace International divorced Greenpeace from its hippy roots.
The documentary projects Bob Hunter as a reluctant leader (in my eyes he reached guru status in the film) but as is said in the documentary “Let the situation be the Guru.”
However, one thing irks me – it is preaching to the converted. The only people who will see this film are the people who already have a passion for environmental campaigns. You will not get Joe Public to part cash to see a film in which you are shown the clubbing of a baby seal. It is Joe Public who needs to see this film – to create their own Mind Bombs as the film explains.
Me and Kathryn stuck around for the Q&A’s afterwards – being broadcast from down south. In the Q&A’s after the screening, the director of the film stated that he would quite like it if someone came away from the film disgusted with Greenpeace. He is obviously not using cinema as a vehicle for social change. I fear that the very people who should view this film will pass this film by.
However, what a film – a mesmeric (real life) plot and even more intense characters. 5*