Above Water by Aïssa Maïga © Rousslan Dion, Bonne Pioche Cinéma - 2021

Festival de Cannes takes action to protect the planet by addressing climate change. Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio already got an invite to attend. 

On Friday, the Festival de Cannes announced a list of films they will display at the festival to address the issue of climate change and promote better practices humans can take to protect the earth. 

“In 2021 and given the urgency of the situation, protecting the environment is at the heart of the Festival de Cannes’ preoccupations, reflected up to its Official Selection. The Selection was already bearing that mark, when in 2007, Al Gore was invited for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth that brought him an Oscar and to numerous other films, including those produced by Leonardo DiCaprio,” said the festival in a newly released statement. 

In order to draw the event into a proactive environmental process that is sustainable, the Festival de Cannes is implementing a strategy to tackle major issues such as CO2 emissions and waste management. 

The Festival deemed these as two “absolute priorities” and will be addressed by reducing carbon emissions and waste. They will also be advocating for taking action on aspects such as offsetting carbon emissions and recovering residual resources.

“As a way of embodying this commitment, the 74th edition of the Festival de Cannes has chosen an ephemeral selection of films on the environment,” said the festival. 

The Festival will discover one scripted film and six documentaries; two journeys of activism for the youth, two tales of catastrophe, news from Africa, and an expedition to the farthest reaches of the world to display the Earth’s beauty. This year, raising awareness and defending the planet will also take place on the silver screen. 

The following films will be screened at Cannes: 

La Croisade (The Crusade) by Louis Garrel (France)

With Louis Garrel, Laetitia Casta, Joseph Engel

This third film by the actor Louis Garrel was co-written by Jean-Claude Carrière who passed away last February. 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.

Marcher sur l’eau (Above Water) by Aïssa Maïga (Niger-France)

Between 2018 and 2020, Aïssa Maïga went to Niger to film one of many villages that have fallen victim to global warming. There, she followed a little girl that, while waiting for a well to be built, must travel several kilometers for water every day. Does access to water correlate with access to education for girls in Sub-Saharan African countries? This is another question that is raised in this fascinating film.

Invisible Demons by Rahul Jain (India)

A shocking documentary about pollution in New Delhi, India, and the “invisible demons” that are the fine particles. Rahul Jain’s camera tries to breathe as it makes its way through this ecological hell, giving us both something to see and something to think about.

Animal by Cyril Dion (France)

Six years after the tremendous success of Demain (Tomorrow), the documentary he co-directed with Mélanie Laurent, Cyril Dion 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.

I Am So Sorry by Zhao Liang (China)

12 years after Petition was presented at a Cannes Special Screening, Zhao Liang has created a new, ambitious and necessary, poetic, and challenging documentary on the dangers of nuclear energy. A journey from Chernobyl to Fukushima that makes the disaster seem tangible.

Bigger Than Us by Flore Vasseur (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 introduced us to young activists fighting for climate, social justice, and fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and access to food and education. A beacon of positive resilience for young people.

La Panthère des neiges by Marie Amiguet (France)

Going well beyond the conventions of the expedition film genre, Marie Amiguet sets up her camera 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. Will they succeed in seeing the big cat? In the process of capturing the anticipation, the silence, the passing of the days, and the strength of nature, an obvious theme emerges the beauty of the world.

Festival de Cannes is set to take place this summer in France from July 6th to the 17th.

Jaala Brown is Gen Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today.

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