Friday, March 28, 2014

Green screens forever

           The incredible beauty of the shown world                                                    

   The Environmental Film Festival wraps up this weekend, and it has been a wonderful and inspiring run. Last night we saw Happiness, shot in Bhutan by Thomas Balmes and Nina Bernfeld . Ostensibly about an isolated people about to receive the blessing of TV and the Internet, it won the Cinematography Award for World Cinematic Documentary at Sundance. In fact it's about human suffering, transcendence, and the utter lack of control ultimately we all have, whether in a nomadic culture in one of the least hospitable places to live, or a lucky 1-percenter at the zenith of the industrial/over-wired world.
   One great thing about Happiness (happiness is a state-given right in advanced Bhutan) is its lack of didacticism. It shows, as all good films must, and it wins your heart with the honesty and perserverence of people in what is a highly compromised struggle, whether the impressionable kid Peyanki, his family, or the monk departing the monastery. In this way it's typical of the films shown in the festival, and a shame as well as a (minor) crime on the part of the people living in the nation's capital, or visiting, and not at least dipping in every spring, to emerge renewed and broadened.
    There are three days left, and there's always next year. Meanwhile stay tuned with these folks, and go:                                                               

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