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Bonjour Paris correspondent Anne McCarthy is on location in Cannes to cover the famous film festival. For more of her dispatches and reviews, click here.
Eleven years ago, the documentary An Inconvenient Truth was released to critical and commercial acclaim, and won two Academy Awards. The film shined a light on the ever-growing, critical issue of global warming and climate change.
This year, at the 70th Cannes Film Festival, Vice President Al Gore and a team of producers and the film’s directors came to Cannes with a new documentary: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.
Despite the fact that sequels are often viewed (in the film industry) as being a profitable – yet lazy and cash-seeking – venture, a film like this, a sequel no less, feels more important than ever.
The documentary includes coverage of the signing of the 2016 Paris Agreement. The agreement was facilitated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It was about prioritizing greenhouse gas emissions and their mitigation, and financing needed steps to battle climate change.
Representatives from 195 countries came to Paris for the agreement, which was held on December 12, 2015. It was opened for signatures on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. At the helm, orchestrating the operations in Paris, was French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius.
Vice President Gore and company appeared at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes on Monday and held a press conference for the film. Speaking of the Paris Agreement, Gore praised France, saying it was enacted with “the best job by our host country [France], for bringing about the climate agreement.”
He spoke to French politics as well, saying he was “happy and relieved when Macron was elected.” He praised the new president: “Climate will have a position of top priority in his agenda. He brings a new burst of hope.”
Gore spoke of the imperative of prioritizing acts that help slow global warming, and the economic benefits of these small – but urgent – changes. He noted that this film will have a powerful impact, as “film as a long-form medium is the premiere way to deliver a message. [It is] chaotic and messy now with so many [ways to view things]. Film is unparalleled. I learn that here in Cannes.”
In this powerful work, it featured scenes of destructive storms ravaging cities, like Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012. Footage appeared in the documentary of President Trump declaring in Rochester, New York: “It’s supposed to be 70 degrees today. It’s freezing here! Speaking of global warming – where is it? We need some global warming!” The raucous crowd cheered at this.
Gore emphasized the need to fight against the raging tide of these out-of-touch viewpoints. “American people are committed to making progress and will continue to do so,” he said in his stentorian voice (one which is clearly well-versed in making strong, succinct public statements to large groups of people). At the end of the press conference, Gore emphatically stayed: “As Mandela said: ‘It’s always impossible until it’s done’.”
In the film, amid scenes of ravaging climate change, its deniers, and the Paris Agreement, Gore says (in his trademark Tennessee drawl): “Don’t let anybody tell you that we’re gonna get on rocket ships and live on Mars. This is our home.”
Homes like Paris, Tokyo, Cannes, St. Louis, Canberra, Lima, Nairobi, Oslo – these are homes that need protecting. And our homes’ fate is in the hands of the world.
The film, distributed by Paramount Pictures, will be released July 28, 2017.
Lead photo credit : Vice President Gore at the press conference at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Anne McCarthy