Before the Flood

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 5.38.21 PM

Finally got to see Before the Flood today as part of the One Earth Film Festival here in Chicago. A couple of things about this powerful film…

For one, it draws its name from a tryptic painting made by Hieronymous Bosch (never heard of him? Me either) around 1500 AD. It was painted during the Renaissance, and the narrative is a moral warning — the first panel depicts Adam and Eve in paradise, the next panel depicts a time of gluttony, and the third panel depicts Earth in utter chaos and demise. One theory about the painting is that it represents the time just before the great flood (i.e., Noah’s Ark) which more or less wiped out humanity because of its sinful ways, most notably gluttony. This inspired the name of the film “Before the Flood” – in that humanity’s insatiable consumption will ultimately turn Earth into a hellish landscape (panel 3). We are currently in panel 2. Gluttony.

Leonardo DiCaprio narrates and “stars” in the film — traveling around the world to learn and show us firsthand what he sees in a multitude of different places: Greenland (glaciers melting); Canada (deforestation on massive scale); Indonesia, etc, etc. The visuals are startling, but presented in a very factual, scientific way — and not without some hope. If you are new to climate change, seeing the film can help you get up to speed on terminology and theories very quickly.

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