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A tiresome rant on environmental doom
By Brian Offenther

THE movie environmentalists think we need to see but no one actually wants to - "The Great Squeeze" - is a cascade of negativity, an acid rain of an ominous new geological era we have reached because we've been bad.

Just a few of our many sins: We've underestimated energy demands from India and here in China; we have a fresh water crisis; Brazil is losings its rain forest; and we eat shark fins.

These issues cascade so quickly that it becomes impossible to do anything other than let them wash over you, as when a girlfriend turns an argument about one issue into an indictment of every sin their partner has ever committed from the first date onwards.

At one point in my personal notes, I wrote "blah blah blah peak oil."

Mind you, peak oil (the point in time when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate declines) is a serious problem.

However, surrounded by so many others, it becomes another check mark of liberal-shaming. Pin-eyed ocean killer sharks, they get off with more sympathy than the billions who have been lifted out of poverty and now want the comforts they can afford, such as a glass of milk and a car ride.

Instead, they are characterized condescendingly as consumers who eat "cheese doodles and Pepsi Cola" by one of the many talking-head experts lined up to pontificate in the film.

"The Great Squeeze" is directed by Christophe Fauchere who combines a fiery environmentalist perspective with Michael Moore- and MTV-influenced visual flourishes. The narrator sets up an issue and then the talking heads take swings at it while a quick-cut style of different visual sources illustrates the action.

Fauchere seems to have combed the public domain archives for visuals with any relation to the topic, so a quick reference to masculinity brings up a snippet of Steve Reeves as Hercules.

This style becomes tiresome, as it lacks substantive imagery. The talking is equally tiresome, as the experts seem content to shame the viewer with a lack of empathy and a surprising lack of facts.

With the visuals on one side and the audio on the other, only one sucker is left in the middle, and that's the audience.

'The Great Squeeze: Surviving the Human Project' (2009)

 Where to see it:

The Social (4/F, 183 Jiaozhou Rd, near Beijing Rd W.)

 When to see it:

9Sep 27, 6:45pm

Tickets: 35 yuan (includes popcorn)

What's to see: A documentary about the dark future ahead as a consumer society soaks up more and more resources of a depleted planet.

 Brian's rating: 1/10 stars

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