The Cannes Film Festival has added seven films addressing environmental concerns to its 2021 line-up.
“La Croisade” (The Crusade, France) by actor-director Louis Garrel, stars himself, Laetitia Casta and Joseph Engel. It was co-written by legendary screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière who died last year. The festival describes the film as: “A fiction in which the children take the reins to protect the planet. A tale of anticipation equally urgent, funny and charming. A story about the alienation of adults from the concerns of children who want to save themselves.”
In “Marcher sur l’eau” (Above Water, Niger-France), filmed in a village in Niger, director Aïssa Maïga follows a little girl who, while waiting for a well to be built, must travel several kilometres for water every day. The film also explores the question of whether access to water co-relates with access to education for girls in Sub-Saharan African countries.
From India, Rahul Jain, director of Sundance-winning documentary “Machines” (2016), returns with “Invisible Demons,” a shocking documentary about pollution in the ecological hell that is New Delhi, India, and the “invisible demons” that are the fine particles.
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Six years after the tremendous success of the César-winning “Demain” (Tomorrow, 2015), the documentary he co-directed with Mélanie Laurent, Cyril Dion is back with “Animal” (France), which sheds light on extinction by accompanying two concerned teenagers who ask very smart questions to better understand the collapse of biodiversity and how we can find concrete solutions. “An educational tour around the world from a teenage perspective that opens your eyes without the typical doom and gloom,” is how the festival describes the film.
Some 12 years after “Petition” (2009) was presented at a Cannes special screening, and went on to win awards around the world, Zhao Liang returns with “I Am So Sorry,” a challenging documentary on the dangers of nuclear energy that travels from Chernobyl to Fukushima.
In “Bigger Than Us” (France), documentary filmmaker Flore Vasseur follows Melati, a young Indonesian girl fighting against plastic pollution in her country, on a journey that takes her far from home. Co-produced by Marion Cotillard, “Bigger Than Us” introduces the world to young activists fighting for the climate, social justice and fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and access to food and education and is designed as a beacon of positive resilience for young people.
Finally, in “La Panthère des neiges” (France), going well beyond the conventions of the expedition film genre, filmmaker Marie Amiguet sets up her camera in hopes of seeing a big cat on the Tibetan Plateau accompanied by the wildlife photographer Vincent Munier and the adventure writer Sylvain Tesson, who describes their time in his book “La Panthère des neiges,” which won the Prix Renaudot in 2019. In the process, they capture the anticipation, silence, passing of the days and strength of nature, and an obvious theme emerges — the beauty of the world.