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THE AGE OF STUPID

Director: FRANNY ARMSTRONG

U.K. • 2009 • COLOUR • DIGITAL • 89 MIN


FOLLOWING HER SUCCESS WITH SUCH CAMPAIGNING DOCUMENTARIES AS McLIBEL AND DROWNED OUT, DIRECTOR FRANNY ARMSTRONG HAS MADE HER MOST AMBITIOUS FILM YET WITH THIS TRENCHANT DOCU-DRAMA ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, ECOLOGICAL COLLAPSE AND THE END OF HUMAN CIVILISATION.

It’s 2055 and a vast tower in the wastes of the Arctic is the site of a Global Archive housing all the historical records and artworks of a near-vanished human race. Chief Archivist Pete Postlethwaite addresses us via his touch-screen computer and asks why we didn’t do more to save the planet back at the start of the century. How could we have been so stupid?

Following an impressive, digitally generated apocalyptic opening — a flooded London, an arid Chamonix, a Vegas covered by sand dunes, Sydney in flames, a derelict Taj Mahal — Postlethwaite guides us through news items, animations and interviews with six different people. We see an elderly Alpine guide showing us how far the glaciers have retreated. An oil company employee diplomatically defends his company’s record while questioning our dependence on the black stuff. The oil equation is then extended to an Iraqi boy whose family has been destroyed by the war. Finally, there’s a British couple, Piers and Lisa Guy, who provide some of the film’s most evocative statements.

Although The Age of Stupid is something of an eco-sermon, Armstrong makes a real effort to engage an uncommitted audience.

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