Day 150 & 151: MLwC and green films

I love a good movie–when it’s raining in Seattle, there’s nothing better than a good movie and a bowl of popcorn. Random and Sundry Things highlighted a Grist article on Hollywood’s 15 greenest movies a couple of weeks ago, you can find it here.

Chinatown, movie–for the full article go to seacat.wordpress.org

Random and Sundry was surprised that Chinatown was included in the list which pleased me in a weird way. It pleased me because it shows that the plot was so well crafted that the issue of overdevelopment in Southern California, the rerouting of water from the more fertile valleys to the Los Angeles basin was part of the backdrop–vs. a clunk on the head type plot, a plot with an agenda. Chinatown actually has a lot in common with Cadillac Desert, a documentary and good book, though you wouldn’t know it on the surface.

I like a good story, and I hate it when a good story is sacrificed for an overbearing agenda, even though entertainment is often a good way to spread real information. So, even though the true story is hugely important and captivating all on its own, Chinatown is a movie, it’s fiction that is meant to bring the historical facts to life. The greed, the ruthlessness, the corruption.

One film that would have been interesting to include, and which any discussion of Chinatown always reminds me of in terms of period and plot is…oddly enough: Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Why? Because the murder in that animation film, and the whole plot, is based on the idea of removing the existing and beloved Red and Yellow Street Car lines from the Los Angeles basin, in order to put in thousands of miles of freeways–the current freeway system that L.A is famous for. It was a true event and was chronicled, and as the basis of a Disney animation, make for a good story as well as a commentary on choices made out of greed, corruption, and ruthlessness.  Highways mean cars, cars mean gas, gas means money, and money means business.

What other Green Films would you like to see on the list?

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4 responses to “Day 150 & 151: MLwC and green films

  1. I don’t know “Koyaanisqatsi – Life Out of Balance” (http://tinyurl.com/yp7blp) missed the list. It has neither a blatant political nor environnental nor economic nor cultural agenda and is completely without a plot (at least in the Western Culture sense of that word). But I would still rank this one near the top of the “Greenest Movies Ever” list. It is a haunting evocation of how we’ve really managed to get our priorities screwed up.

  2. Also, I would totally agree about Chinatown being a “green” movie. But the larger point of the movie is one that other “green” movies often miss: that corruption, greed, and violence are interconnected on all levels of society — from the personal to the political to the economic to the cultural. Often in one-sided, blatantly political movies with a “green” agenda, the assumption is that the environmental problem merely exists on its own, or only within a political or economic context (and thus is solvable on that level) rather than seeing the problem as an extension or symptom of a larger problem within western cultural values.

  3. B2–you rock. That encapsulation of Chinatown’s effectiveness is so great–it’s a systems movie, about values and power, not political.
    Also: YES to koyaanisqatsi–it’s an all time favorite and again, deals with large systems and directed more towards raising awareness than pounding on a pulpit.

  4. Pingback: Day 155 & 156: MLwC and a wee bit more on Chinatown « What it’s like

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