Jan. 25, 2012 - Issue #849: Blind Date
Surviving ProgressLike Chicken Little, Surviving Progress understands that the sky is falling, but doesn't exactly know where to go from there. The film does a good job of connecting the dots of overpopulation, environmental degradation and economic skullduggery but offers no solutions, nor does it go much deeper than repeating the same messages over and over.
It's a mile wide but only an inch deep. The fact that we're in trouble is oft-repeated, with more and more reasons heaped upon the evidence over the course of the film, but at no point does Surviving Progress get down into the muck of hard facts, historical examples of what got us here. There are a lot of generalizations: "economics" turned the rainforest into a commodity, "technology" is ruining the Earth, but unlike Ronald Wright's book A Short History of Progress—upon which the film is based—there's no nitty gritty.
Visually, however, the movie is striking. Travelling from Canada to America to Brazil to China, its footage is incredible and edited together gloriously. It's just too bad it couldn't have been in service of a more potent message.
Directed by: Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks
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