The Threatened Planet

ThuleTuvalu © HesseGreutert Film AG Documentary
94/52 Min.
Switzerland, 2014
Matthias von Gunten

The town of Thule is located on the coast of Greenland and is one of the most northerly inhabited places on earth. With about 10,000 inhabitants on 9 atolls, Tuvalu, in the Pacific Ocean, is one of the earth’s smallest countries. Even today, the inhabitants of both places live largely from traditional fishing, hunting and a little farming. In terms of their natural life circumstances, Thule and Tuvalu could not be more different. But a closer look reveals what they have in common: The inhabitants of both places have contributed practically nothing to global climate change, but both places are affected by it more than any others. Today, rising sea levels and the melting of the Greenland ice cap are already having existential effects on the people. In Thule, the hunting season has been shortened by a third, many prey animals have disappeared. On Tuvalu, the heightened sea level leads to flooding and thereby to land loss and salination of groundwater. In a few decades, both places will have vanished from the face of the earth. Thule and Tuvalu are a symbol of the fundamental injustice of global climate consequences: the poorest countries are the ones most affected.
The film "ThuleTuvalu" does not take a didactic approach to its theme, but instead portrays normal life in Thule and Tuvalu in powerful images. For example, we experience two families of hunters and fishermen who live from nature’s abundance in the ways their ancestors did. They try to pass on their skills to their sons – knowing full well that their way of life is coming to an end. The film skilfully weaves the two different geographical perspectives to show that climate change connects these two places at the ends of the earth in a tragic fashion. In doing so, it poses qualitatively new questions that are hardly being addressed at all where they ought to be: in industrialised countries.


Suhrfeld 6
24358 Ascheffel
Tel.: +49 (0) 4353 – 99 80 175

Planet Planet Experimental film, Germany 2010, Björn Rühmann/Matthew Branning, 25 min., with: Nikolai Kinski

A man walks across his planet. He enjoys the pristine beauty of his world. Yet with every day he destroys his environment a little more. And he fails to understand that the filth that he complains about so vociferously is actually his own. His path takes him over and again to the same places – until one day the planet is transformed into a mound of refuse.
In an ironic tone the film tells a parable about human civilisation on earth. Its bleak but beautiful aesthetics emphasise the inability of man to reflect upon his own behaviour, let alone assume responsibility for it.



INTERPOL+− Kreativlabor
Linienstraße 144
10115 Berlin

Armadingen Armadingen Short feature film, Germany 2011, Philipp Kässbohrer/Matthias Schulz/Jakob Beurle, 23 min.

An idyllic farm in northern Germany. For decades the marriage of Walter and his wife has been defined by routine rather than romance. Walter has long since stopped talking to his wife. One day a radio announcement shatters his gloomy taciturnity: an asteroid is hurtling towards the earth and will annihilate humankind within the next 24 hours. Unaccustomed as he is to speaking to his wife, Walter keeps the news a secret from her. And he tries to make her last hours the best ones of her life. It turns out that this is not so easy if you’ve never practised it.
In a very humorous way the film targets the omnipresent apocalyptic visions and catastrophe scenarios. The singularity of its stubborn protagonists, the farmer and his wife, and their sudden affection for one another give rise to questions of an almost philosophical nature. Could it be that love and respect are our only salvation?


Art Academy for Media Cologn
Ute Dilger
Peter-Welter-Platz 2
50676 Köln
Tel.: +49-221-201890

2012 – Time for Change 2012 – Time for Change Documentary film, USA 2010, João Amorim, 86 min.

2012 is said to be the year of the apocalypse. But it could also be the year of a new beginning. The journalist Daniel Pinchbeck tries to combine modern scientific thought with the wisdom of traditional tribal cultures and to develop from this a new vision for the future. This vision is defined by cooperation instead of competition and by restraint rather than consumerism. It places a new form of spiritualism side by side with scientific logic. This kind of alternative paradigm is urgently required in view of the multiple environmental and economic crises that have propelled western civilisation to the brink of the abyss.
The film 2012 – TIME FOR CHANGE goes in search of elements of this new perception. In interviews with numerous modern artists and thinkers (including Sting, David Lynch, Gilberto Gil, Terence McKenna) it approaches a positive alternative to the existing economic and life model. A distinguishing feature of the film is its focus on the possibilities of change offered by our present crisis. Thus a mood of basic optimism pervades the film.


Mangusta Productions
P.O. Box 70
CA 93024
Tel.: +212-463-9503

Revansh Revansh Albania 2010, Gentian Koçi, 13 min.

In Albania it was not only communism but also its opening from 1990 on that fostered an industrial “modernisation” which paid little heed to nature and its limits. The soil, rivers and forests have suffered from decades of destructive exploitation. According to a World Bank survey Albania is one of the countries particularly affected by climate change. Nevertheless, until now there has been no significant development of a movement for the protection of nature and the environment. An exception here is the Albanian environmental activist Sazan Guri. He deplores the exploitation of people and nature, which turns a blind eye to the future, and demands more responsibility in dealing with nature.
The film showcases his impassioned plea for a sustainable relationship with nature. It contrasts Sazan Guri’s incisive criticism with pictures reflecting the beauty of Albania’s mountain landscape, but also with the reality of piles of waste, uncontrolled deforestation and devastating floods. The power of the film is enhanced by its brevity and concentration.


Center for German Language Tirana
German-Albanian Cultural Society „Robert Schwartz“
co-operation partner: Goethe-Institut
Rr. Ismail Qemali 30

What will remain… Was wird bleiben… Documentary film, Germany 2009, Knut Karger, 78 min.

Climate change is definitely a key factor in provoking apocalyptic fantasies about the end of humankind. But even for those who are no fans of Doomsday scenarios, taking a serious look at a future without humankind is a compelling film topic. In his essayistic documentary film, Knut Knister investigates the question as to what could remain of our civilisation if it no longer existed. After all, people are trying their utmost to create something that will last beyond their death and that will preserve their memory: scientific knowledge is recorded on microfilm and buried in the ground, gene banks are compiled and space probes equipped with messages. What is behind all this? Megalomania or, on the contrary, the perception of being merely an insignificant part of a gigantic universe? The idea of disappearing without a trace – evidently this is unacceptable.
The film reflects intelligently on the human obsession with immortality and showcases this with examples, some of which are really bizarre yet nevertheless relevant. In skilful, aesthetic visual language it leads the viewers to various sites of (im)mortality, but leaves them to draw their own conclusions.


lüthje schneider hörl
Landwehrstrasse 2
D-80336 Munich
Tel.: +49 (0)89 856 36 006
Fax: +49 (0)89 856 36 007

Our Heavenly Bodies (Wunder der Schöpfung) Wunder der Schöpfung Silent film, Germany 1925, Hanns Walter Kornblum, 85 Min. at 20 p/s Cast: Margarete Schön, Theodor Loos, Paul Bildt, Margarethe Schlegel, Oscar Marion, Willy Kaiser-Heyl

An extremely elaborate educational film, produced in the 1920s, which attempts to present humankind’s entire knowledge, such as it was then, of the earth and the universe. 15 special effects persons and nine cinematographers worked on the film that combines documentary scenes and historical documents, adventure film elements and science-fiction elements with one another. Among the educational films of the 1920s “Our Heavenly Bodies” represents the greatest achievement. Four renowned university professors ensured the accuracy of the scientific and historical context of the events presented.
The film’s symbol for progress and the dawn of a new scientific era is a spaceship that crosses the Milky Way and acquaints the viewer en route with all the planets and their special features. The Apocalypse is presented as a new, irrefutable, scientific certainty, and the viewer is regaled with detailed, apocalyptic scenes of the end of humankind. For present-day viewers this amazing film is a vivid manifestation of how people in the 1920s imagined the universe.
This film is available as part of the Edition Filmmuseum in the film archive of the Goethe-Institut.
order online


Alive AG
Von-Hünefeld-Straße 2
50829 Cologne
Tel.: +49-221-5342-0
Fax: +49-221-5342-1000

Manufactured Landscapes Manufactured Landscapes Documentary film, Canada 2006, Jennifer Baichwal, 90 min.

In China economic development has prompted the creation of artificial worlds that are, to this day, quite unique. Within a short time gigantic cityscapes were constructed, huge production plants built, rivers diverted, nature levelled and straightened – all in the name of progress. Yet human beings appear to be alien elements in these worlds. Edward Burtynsky has taken large-format photos of these “manufactured landscapes”, of skyscrapers, factories, quarries, mines, dams. He thus presents, as it were, an aesthetic inventory of modern civilisation and its accelerated intensification in the course of globalisation. With his pictures Burtynsky shows a modernity that has lost its connection to humanity and, in the end effect, relates only to itself. The photographs of civilisation materials and remnants - which are impressive and depressing at the same time – raise questions about ethics and aesthetics which we cannot ignore.
The film accompanies Burtynsky’s journey through China and shows in magnificent pictures an aesthetics of artificiality and destruction.


Celluloid Dreams
2 rue Turgot
75009 Paris
Tel.: +33 1 49700370
Fax: +33 1 49700371

Highway World Herança Experimental film, Germany 2008, Martin Hans Schmitt, 81 min

In this non-verbal documentary film the viewer sets off on a journey through vast highway worlds from Africa to Asia. Images of roads, streams of traffic and highway intersections create an aesthetics of modernity that appears as fascinating as it is destructive. The car is both a fetish and a means of mobility. Here mobility reveals its omnipresence. The archive footage filtered from industrial and educational films, together with the ambient music of the sitar virtuoso Al Gromer Khan, provide the basis for total immersion in the highway spheres.
The film was distilled from over 63 hors of film/video material and 1,700 photos. It is an attempt to find an artistic and experimental approach to modern mobility mania and, although it is a little too long, by virtue of its form it opens up a distinctive filmic access.


Martin Hans Schmitt
Albrechtstr. 24
80636 Munich
Tel./Fax: +49 89 3085456

Home Where is my Home? Documentary film, France 2009, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 88 min.

The film portrays our planet and its fragile eco-balance. With images from a bird’s-eye view, it takes the viewer on a journey round the world through over 50 countries. The pictures show destruction as well as fantastic shots of unspoilt natural landscapes, forests, deserts, lakes, rivers and seas. It becomes clear that in the 200,000 years of their existence humans have destroyed a balance that developed over 4 billion years. Humankind now has no more than 10 years to reverse the trend.
This visually innovative film in high-definition creates breathtaking images that show the earth as it has never been seen before. It also shows us quite clearly what we are destroying, as well as all the wonders of nature that we can still preserve. With its stunning aerial shots the film casts new perspectives on the problems of humankind.


1 carrefour de Longchamp
Domaine de Longchamp
75116 Paris
Tel.: +33 1 48 42 76 02