A stunning, inspiring new documentary film, A Fierce Green Fire, The Battle for a Living Planet, had its theatrical premiere in New York on March 1, and was scheduled for screenings across the country in following weeks. (View the full schedule.)
The film is in five acts, each narrated by a different person. Robert Redford starts with the beginnings of the modern movement, highlighting David Brower and the Sierra Club’s successful campaign to block construction of power dams in the Grand Canyon. Ashley Judd tells the story of Love Canal in New York and a neighborhood that had to be abandoned when residents—children in particular—began to become ill, even die, from toxic wastes buried beneath their homes and yards years before. Van Jones recounts the struggles by Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Society to end commercial whaling. Isabel Allende tells the tale of the Brazilian rubber tappers’ crusade to save their forest home, led by the martyred Chico Mendez. Meryl Streep ends with a hopeful recounting of the effort to stem global climate change.
These are only the main story lines. Mark Kitchell, the filmmaker (he was nominated for an academy award for his Berkeley in the Sixties in 1990) weaves in many other stories and themes, using dozens of interviews, archival footage, animation, old news clippings, music, and much else. The film’s website has descriptions of the interviewees (full disclosure: I’m in it and had a small hand in putting it together), a synopsis of the stories, press clippings and reviews, and much much more.
Watch the trailer: