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BY BRENNA C.
GREEN is a film of comparisons. With no dialogue, and at times no sound other than birdsong, the film nonetheless artfully contrasts the beauty and balance the natural environment and the destruction and violence of consumerism.
Short segments focusing on eyes of wild primates are contrasted with the eyes of primates locked away in zoos and the blank stares of models on billboards. Panoramas of living rainforest are replaced with clear cut wastelands.
The saddest contrasts center on Green, the female orangutan whose last moments are the heart of the film. The filmmaker, Patrick Rouxel, shows us the humans that gave her comfort and food and the humans that threw rocks and stuffed her into a duffle bag. He shows us the life she might have lived in the wild with her family and the cruel reality of her illness and death alone.
While heart wrenching, Green does move one to action. The articles on the film’s blog, http://studyinggreen.wordpress.com/, from the University lecturers who screened the film at the Wildscreen film festival, explain that this is the point. In the article “Going Beyond ‘the Money Shot’” we are introduced to the genre of the contemporary activist film. In this genre the filmmaker’s goal is not merely to tell an entertaining story or to document events precisely as they happen, but motivate political change. Which explains the big surprise in “Green’s Fate” in which we learn that Green doesn’t die at the end of the film as implied, but lives.
In “Reponses and Reflections,” we learn from the filmmaker that the story told by Green is not that of the life of a single Orangutan, but the story of our collective responsibility to the natural environment. Green is a film of comparisons, because it depicts the greed and indifference of humanity while showing us our infinite potential for compassion.