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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Earth - Documentary Review


The Documentary: Earth

The Director: Nikolaus Geyrhalter

The Story: Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans - with shovels, excavators and dynamite. 'Earth' observes people, in mines, quarries and large construction sites, engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet.


The Review:
This documentary was absolutely fascinating to watch. Just the sheer volume of earth that's being moved and shifted and torn down is staggering and the gigantic machines that have been built to do this work is like stuff out of science fiction movies. Mountains literally being torn down in a matter of days, pits being dug so deep just to scrape up a few bits and pieces of various metals, minerals, or whatever they're looking for. Nikolaus Geyrhalter travels all around the world showing the same type of situations all over the world with corporations hiding behind the scenes and not allowing access to some areas.

I like how Geyrhalter switches back and forth from interview conversation with on site employees to massively wide shots of on site activity taking place with those gigantic machines I was referring to looking like little Tonka trucks compared to the scale of where they are at. The employees talk about their jobs, how much they enjoy them, the sense of pride they have in the work they do and each of them also hesitantly discuss how aware they are of the environmental impact the work they do really causes. Ultimately, they say what they are doing is destructive and damaging and they either don't care or they convey a sense of hopelessness and resignation that humanity is doomed to continue down this path.

There is a lot to learn about the world we live in from watching this film and there is also a lot to confirm about how destructive we are as a species from watching this film. To know that humans move significantly more earth on a daily basis than what is moved by nature is honestly quite astonishing and makes you wonder what we are doing to the overall health of the planet with all of this digging and scraping and exploding. One man who runs a marble quarry talked about how just a few years ago, you wouldn't be able to see any difference from day to day but now, with all of the advances in machinery and vehicles, he said every day the quarry is unrecognizable from the last.

Earth is an informative and beautifully filmed look at the impact humanity is having on the planet we live on and the continued destruction that could be endangering our very existence. Shout out to Nikolaus Geyrhalter for making a documentary that is compelling, dramatic, and awe inspiring even as he shows you how much destruction is being caused by what you are watching.


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