September 22, 2016

Film Review, Solutions from Below: Pedagogical Documentaries and Praxis by Kristi M. Wilson and Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli

:::::: Film Review ::::::

Solutions from Below: Pedagogical Documentaries and Praxis
by Kristi M. Wilson and Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli

Alejandro Ramírez Anderson, Tierralismo: Stories from a Cooperative Farm, 2013
José Cohen, H2Omx, 2013

En este valle verdusco, antes corrían ríos rutilantes, cenizos, castaños y cárdenos, púrpuras, perdidos y pardos; quebrajosos, vocingleros, berreando bajaban de la montaña humeante, salían a los llanos lerdos, tentaban a la temprana Tenochtitlán. Hoy van mugiendo entubados, menguados, pesados de aguas negras, crecidos de mierda; ríos sin riberas, risibles, con riendas, rabiosos, rabones, ruidosos de coches; avanzando a tumbos por la ciudad desflorada, desembocando en los lagos letales, y en el marcado mar, que ya no los ama.
~Homero Aridjis

Part of the rich documentary film tradition includes pedagogical films. The best of these documentaries successfully incorporate the strange combination of artistic and pedagogical innovation in their efforts to educate and encourage audiences to bring about social change. In the past decade, a new type of documentary about sustainability has made itself a prominent feature of sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. These documentaries vary in quality and length, from feature-length films about activists who oppose the depletion of natural resources to instructional videos about how to build an adobe house. Two recent pedagogical documentaries distributed by Icarus Films that stand out from the crowd include José Cohen’s 2013 H2Omx (Mexico) and Alejandro Ramírez Anderson’s 2013 Tierralismo: Stories from a Cooperative Farm (Cuba).

To say that global warming and climate change have resulted in great crises in the world is an understatement. Latin American activists have mobilized against deforestation and mountaintop removal among other forms of environmental degradation. In two of the largest cities on the continent, São Paolo and Mexico City, residents have rallied to protest water shortages. As its title suggests, H2Omx is a documentary about the water problem in Mexico City. The film delicately maps the traffic of water into the city and, more …


Latin American Perspectives
September 2015 vol. 42 no. 5 148-151

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