Dark Waters and 9 other films about sustainability that you must watch
- minutes reading time
As part of the cinema launch of Dark Waters, we present you high-quality films that focus on sustainability, environmental protection and animal welfare.
1. DARK WATERS
Dark Waters tells the true story of successful corporate lawyer Rob Bilott, who single-handedly took on DuPont, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, and brought the so-called « Teflon scandal » to light. Bilott is caught in a quandary when two farmers draw his attention to strange events in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where a large number of cows have mysteriously died. The farmers suspect the chemical company DuPont, for which Bilott himself works as a lawyer. Despite this conflict of interest, the conscientious lawyer wants to clear up the case without reservation and quickly finds incriminating evidence that points to an environmental scandal of enormous dimensions.
Director Todd Haynes stages Bilott’s self-sacrificing struggle, for which he was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize in 2017, precisely and to the point as a gripping economic thriller. In addition to the grandiose Mark Ruffalo, Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins and Bill Pullman, among others, shine as supporting actors.
Teflon has been used in many different products since the 1960s. You will be most familiar with the Teflon pans, which for decades belonged in practically every well-run kitchen – mainly because of their water and oil-repellent features. However, it is precisely because of these features that Teflon has also been used in the textile industry for many decades. We are talking about PTFE, because nothing else is hidden behind Teflon. Unfortunately, PTFE is still used by other membrane producers such as Gore-Tex, which uses it to make waterproof and windproof clothing, among other things. The big problem: PFC, which is considered to be very problematic in terms of ecology and health, can be released not only during its manufacture, but also when PTFE-based clothing is worn and after its disposal. They then end up, for example, as volatile PFC in the atmosphere and as long-chain C8 chemicals in our groundwater.
« This feature film is a great opportunity to tell the public what happened back then and has become a global health threat » – Rob Bilott
Rob Bilott never tires of emphasising in interviews: « People need to know that this stuff is now everywhere. In the environment, in drinking water and even in the blood of almost every living creature on this planet« .
Since the 8th of October you can make up your own mind, because Dark Waters will then also be shown in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in a movie theatre near you.
2. BEFORE THE FLOOD
In this impressive documentary, director Fisher Stevens sends the world-famous actor Leonardo Di Caprio on a long journey around the world to witness climate change with his own eyes. Di Caprio travels to five continents and the Arctic and goes on an expedition with scientists who show him the frightening reality of climate change. A compelling report on the dramatic changes that are currently taking place around the world due to climate change, and the actions we can take as individuals and as a society to prevent them.
A groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary that follows intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry our planet faces today – and explores why the world’s leading environmental organisations are too afraid to talk about it publicly. We are talking about animal farming because it is the main cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, it is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transport industry, and it is a major cause of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean ‘dead zones’ and virtually every other environmental disease. This shocking documentary film opens the eyes of the public and illustrates the absolutely devastating effects of large-scale factory farming on the environment by means of various infographics.
4. TASTE THE WASTE
50 percent of all food is thrown away: Every second lettuce, every second potato and every fifth bread. Valentin Thurn has tracked down reality in our bins. In the rubbish bins of the wholesale markets, the supermarkets and those on our doorstep. Because most of it ends up in the trash before it even reaches the consumer. And almost nobody knows the extent of this waste. Over ten million tonnes of food are thrown away every year in Germany alone. And the number is growing all the time! Why do we throw so much away? In search of explanations, Valentin Thurn talks to supermarket salespeople and managers, bakers, wholesale market inspectors, ministers, psychologists, farmers and EU bureaucrats. And he finds people who appreciate our food more, who have developed alternatives and counteract this madness to stop this wastefulness.
5. THE TRUE COST
Director Andrew Morgan takes the audience on glamorous catwalks and into absolute poverty areas and searches for an informed answer to the question of who actually pays the true price for our clothes. The British fashion designer Safia Minney and Stella McCartney, the Indian scientist and environmental activist Vandana Shiva and the pioneer of sustainable fashion, Livia Firth, are among those who have spoken out clearly. The film is about our clothes and the people who make them. But it is also about the environmental destruction that goes hand in hand with mass production and exploitation. The True Cost clearly shows the excesses of the globalised economic system: corrosive tannin-contaminated rivers, depleted, poisoned soils on which cotton no longer grows, genetic seeds that drive indebted small farmers to suicide and mothers whose children are already born sick. As a stark contrast, Morgan shows gigantic shopping miles and the enthusiastic fans of fast fashion from Primark, H&M and Co. On the one hand, the film names those responsible for the catastrophic conditions: the decision-makers of the brand companies, the shareholders and the banks. At the same time, it also calls on the audience to rethink and change their own clothing consumption.
6. MORE THAN HONEY
This is not another film about the news event of bee deaths. It is about life, about people and bees, about diligence and greed, about superorganisms and swarm intelligence. Starting with a beekeeper in the Swiss mountains, Markus Imhoof has travelled around the world for this. To the USA, where bees are transported on an industrial scale from monoculture to monoculture, or to China, where in certain regions the flowers already have to be pollinated by hand. In Arizona he meets Fred Terry, who specialises in killer bees, in Austria the Singer family, who breed queens and send them all over the world. He interviews scientists, talks about the phenomenal intelligence of bees and their social interaction. Finally, we are in Australia, where bee mortality has not yet arrived and where the young Baer-Imhoof family is doing their research. In addition to the macro shots, Imhoof uses a whole arsenal of image techniques, which always tell the various plot strands of the film from the bees’ point of view and provide insights into a world normally hidden from the human eye. Thus, overwhelming and unique images have been created about life inside a beehive or the mating of a queen in full flight.
7. FOOD, INC.
What do we really know about the food we eat every day? This documentary shows how a handful of corporations determine what we eat and what we are allowed to know about our food. And how irresponsible the food industry is, putting the livelihoods of many farmers and the health of consumers at risk to protect its own profits. Director Robert Kenner and journalists Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan do a brilliant job researching the facts and background of the US food industry. Two aspects are particularly striking: on the one hand, the incomprehensible one-sidedness of the food industry. On the other hand, the unbelievable monopolisation of a few megacorporations. The documentary is absolutely worth seeing, because its authors make it clear to us in an impressive, fact-based way: When we push a product over the cash register, we always give a vote – for or against certain products.
8. 10 BILLION
Soon the world population will grow to ten billion people. But where will the food come from that every single person needs daily to survive, and of which one in six people already has too little? How can we prevent humanity from destroying the basis for its food supply simply by growing? In this documentary, director Valentin Thurn focuses on the two camps: On the one hand, industrial agriculture, which is expanding globally and relies on mass production in a highly efficient way. On the other hand, there is organic and traditional agriculture, which produces less mass but uses limited resources sparingly. The film shows the global interactions in agriculture by means of protagonists from the central production areas of seeds, fertilisation, pest control, feed production, animal production and trade. It critically questions the current practice of both sides, but also presents their approaches to solutions and visions for the future in an unbiased way. Each of us is actively involved in deciding which path will dominate agriculture in the future.
Is less really more? This film illuminates various minimalist concepts of life by taking the audience into the lives of very different minimalists: families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists and former Wall Street bankers. They all strive for a meaningful life without unnecessary materialism.
10. ERIN BROCKOVICH
In this feature film based on a true incident, the protagonist Erin Brockovich (fantastically played by Julia Roberts) forces a spectacular compensation case against a large energy company, which causes an environmental disaster of undreamed-of dimensions. The energy giant PG&E (28 billion dollars annual turnover) has been contaminating the groundwater of the small Californian desert town of Hinkleys with toxic chromium 6 through an unsealed catchment basin for years – cancer and miscarriages are the result. With skill, passion and perseverance Erin Brockovich and the lawyer Ed Masry try to bring PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) to its knees. The two are not intimidated and it is thanks to their dedication that the more than 600 petitions required from the residents of Hinkley for arbitration proceedings, which decisively shortens the proceedings, have finally come together. Director Steven Soderbergh stages the true David versus Goliath story as a dramatic Hollywood entertainment film, which even won an Oscar for its leading actress Julia Roberts.
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