Film series Climate.Culture.Change

Overview of the movies

Franny Armstrong: The Age of Stupid; Alpen ohne Schnee © Spanner Films
Franny Armstrong: The Age of Stupid; Alpen ohne Schnee © Spanner Films
The 13 feature-length and short film productions of the series “Klima.Kultur.Wandel”
(“Climate.Culture.Change”) highlight the social dimension of climate change: human beings as cause, victims, and also as the key to finding solutions. The series presents a panorama of interconnections, from the causes of climate change to possible solutions, from the individual to society, from local to global contexts, in a wide variety of ways.

Films like Die Rechnung (i.e. The Bill), Recipes for Disaster, not only show that global-scale problems do not allow for „business as usual,“ but also that climate change can offer unimagined openings and opportunities for development. But these can only become reality when many individual actions acquire cultural relevance through their power to convince, and create awareness of sustainable action on a societal level. The film series seeks to thrill, excite, encourage and inspire – around the world.

1. The Age of Stupid
Franny Armstrong, UK, 2009, 92 min

The Age of Stupid, UK 2009, Franny Armstrong © Spanner Films, 92 Min.The British film The Age of Stupid by Franny Armstrong takes an unsparing look at the development of humanity before the background of global catastrophe. With dramaturgic skill, it combines a fictional narrattive level with documentary elements when tracing the path to ecological disaster from the perspective of the year 2050, with the aid of „flashbacks.” Above all, the film poses the question: why did we not prevent our doom while we still had the chance to do so? The film succeeds not only in pointing out the objective contours of climate change, but also in revealing the internal contradictions and cultural barriers that make acting so difficult.

2. Algol – Tragedy of Power (Algol – Tragödie der Macht)
Hans Werckmeister, Germany, 1920

Algol – Tragödie der Macht (i.e. Algol – Tragedy of Power), Germany 1920, Hans Werckmeister © Deutsche Lichtbild-Gesellschaft e. V. (DLG), BerlinThis German silent film investigates modernity’s faith in progress as one of the fundamental causes of climate change. It narrates the story of a simple coal miner who learns the secret of a never-ending energy source from an inhabitant of the planet Algol. But instead of this technology being used for the benefit of all, it is misused for the exercise of power on the part of individuals. In the end, the few who profited from Algol’s technology cannot even achieve individual happiness, in spite of their unimagined wealth – the film’s true tragedy.

3. Über Wasser (i.e. Above Water)
Udo Maurer, Austria/Luxembourg, 2007, 82 min

Über Wasser (i.e. Above Water), Austria / Luxembourg 2007, Udo Maurer © Lotus-Film (A) und Samsa Film (Lux), 82 Min.In three chapters from three different parts of our earth, the new Austrian film documentary Über Wasser by the director Udo Maurer, reports on the existential significance of the element of water for humanity. In this way, a seemingly banal and obvious fact becomes an exciting and immediate narrative about the daily struggle for survival. In spite of water. Because of water. Without water. With water. About flooding and inundation in the delta region of the Brahmaputra in Bangldesh, about the once-thriving fishing port and harbour city of Aralsk on the Aral Sea that now lies lost in the dry Kazakh steppes, and about Africa’s daily war of all against all for a couple of canisters of clean water in Kibera, the largest slum of Nairobi.

4. Before the Flood: Tuvalu
Paul Lindsay, UK/France, 2004, 62 min

Before The Flood, UK/France 2004, Paul Lindsay © Stampede Films, 62 Min.The British-French co-production Before the Flood: Tuvalu tells about the Pacific island of Tuvalu that will sink below the sea in a few decades, due to climate change. Once the third-poorest country on earth, in the 1990’s Tuvalu sold its Internet domain „tv“, thus earning its approx. 10,000 inhabitants an enormous improvement in their standard of living. With the money, the American Way of Life and its accompanying resource wastage is now making inroads. In an ironic and yet melancholy tone, the film describes the efficacy of the modern western lifestyle, and shows at the same time how difficult it is to refrain from short-term consumption for the sake of long-term quality of life. Even when the negative effects are literally right in front of one’s doorstep.

5. Recipes for disaster
John Webster, Finland, 2008, 85 min

Recipes for Disaster, Finland 2008, John Webster © Magic Hour Films ApS, 85 Min.Concerned about our civilisation’s addiction to oil and the catastrophic effects of climate change, a filmmaker persuaded his family to go on an „oil diet” for a year. With the goal of reducing their contribution to CO2 emissions, he discovered a great deal – just as did his children and wife, who went along more or less of necessity – and became a man with a mission. Recipes for Disaster is very witty and entertaining. But it is also often profound, because it does not leave out the human dimension – especially conflicts with his family’s patience, and including his own fanaticism, which is then tamed by his wife’s love. A truly fresh, new wind in climate docus!

6. Menschen – Träume – Taten (i.e. People – Dreams – Actions)
Andreas Stiglmayr, Germany, 2007, 90 min

Menschen Träume Taten  (i.e. People – Dreams – Actions), Germany 2007, Andreas Stiglmayr © Stiglmayr Film, 90 Min.While searching for a future-compatible community model, film-maker Andi Stiglmayr came upon the model settlement „Sieben Linden” (i.e. Seven Linden Trees), founded in 1997 and located in the Altmark, about 150 km west of Berlin. 120 people have come together there, forming various neighbourhoods, and are seeking to integrate life’s different domains – such as work, leisure time, education and culture – with each other. But in areas such as communication, raising children, power, and particularly the relationship between men and women, it becomes clear that the problems of society at large are vividly reflected in this microcosmos.

7. Die Rechnung (i.e. The Bill)
Peter Wedel, Germany, 2009, 4:22 min

Die Rechnung (i.e. The Bill), Germany 2009, Peter Wedel © Peter Wedel, 4:22 Min.In this short film by the director Peter Wedel, three friends converse in a pub about their experiences in the past weeks. In this way, a colourful catalogue of sins against the climate emerges that is intensified when the waitress appears. Prominent German actors participated in this short film on the climate, among them Benno Fürmann.

8. They will come to town
Thilo Ewers, Germany, 2008, 1:20 min

They Will Come To Town, Germany 2008, Thilo Ewers © Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, 1:20 Min.Thilo Ewers’ animated film most impressively illustrates the dramatic consequences of climate change for our cities. The film does without words completely – if for no other reason than that there are no actors to speak them.

9. Das Rad (i.e. The Wheel)
Chris Stenner; Heidi Wittlinger; Arvid Uibel, Germany, 2001, 8:30 min

Das Rad (i.e. The Wheel), Deutschland 2001, Chris Stenner, Heidi Wittlinger, Arvid Uibel  © Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, 8:30 Min.This animated short film by Chris Stenner, Arvid Uibel and Heidi Wittlinger, which has received numerous awards and was nominated for an Oscar, amusingly traces the development of humanity and its technologies from the Stone Age into the future from the viewpoint of two stones.

10. Der Kreis (i.e. The Circle)
Klaus Georgi, GDR, 1988, 3:25 min

Der Kreis (i.e. The Circle), GDR 1986, Klaus Georgi © DEFA-Studio für Trickfilme,  3:25 Min.An animated film in collage technique on the sense and nonsense of production and consumption. A diligently productive local factory has polluted its environment to such an extent that people and animals have to wear protective masks. The circle is completed in the final scene: the factory now produces protective masks.

11. Konsequenz (i.e. Consistency)
Klaus Georgi, GDR, 1986, 2 min

Die Konsequenz (i.e. Consistency), GDR 1986, Klaus Georgi © DEFA-Studio für Trickfilme, 2 Min.This short animated DEFA (the former GDR’s public film studio) film shows human beings’ double standards in dealing with issues relating to nature conservancy, and at the same time points up the consequences of this behaviour for the environment.

12. Was machst du gegen den Klimawandel? (i.e. So What Are You Doing About Climate Change?)
Katrin Rothe, Germany, 2008, 2:45 min

Was machst Du gegen den Klimawandel? (i.e. So What Are You Doing About Climate Change?), Germany 2008, Katrin Rothe © ZDF, 2:45 Min.Saving the world in two-and-a-half minutes, in two-and-a-half minutes conjuring up an entire universe of hopes and dreams, wishes and fears, opinions and plans. And thereby encouraging us to reflect, to raise a smile, and in the best case, encouraging us to act, because one person alone will not save the world – that is the principle of „So what are you doing about it?“ as simple as it is ambitious.

13. Wenn der Eisberg kalbt (i.e. When the Iceberg Calves)
Sylvie Hohlbaum; Gregor Schubert, Germany, 2002, 6 min

Wenn der Eisberg kalbt (i.e. When the Iceberg Calves), Deutschland 2002, Sylvie Hohlbaum, Gregor Schubert © HfG Offenbach, 6 Min.For some time now, Rüsselsheim’s chief amateur inventor Manfred Binder has been thinking about the future of our civilisation and the risk of a possible ecological catastrophe. In doing so, he develops ideas that are as stringent as they are imaginative: survival would be possible in a capsule he has manufactured...


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