Tennessee communards gather their crop in the early '70s. David Frohman/Book Publishing Co./First Run Features
Opens Fri. April 5 at Varsity. Not rated. 101 minutes.
In reviewing Greedy Lying Bastards a few weeks back, I noted how hard director Craig Scott Rosebraugh worked to put global warming into a populist context: “Forget polar bears” was the overarching message; all this carbon is screwing over corn farmers in Iowa.
A few shorts weeks later, we now get Mark Kitchell’s Fierce Green Fire, a star-studded documentary also calling for action on global warming via a meandering look at environmental movements of yore. But this doc is so filled with eco-stereotypes that it plays like a Christopher Guest parody, something best suited to a Sierra Club fundraiser. For what it’s worth, the doc features narration from celebrities including Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, and Ashley Judd. (Ashley, you should stick to politics … oh, wait.)
Here are some choice quotes, fed to the camera without irony: “At that moment, I decided I work for whales, I work for seals, I work for fish and seabirds. I don’t work for people.” “At the last moment, Al Gore arrived to save the day.” Here’s how Al Gore could save the day today: Unplug the movie projector.
The title comes from a quote from Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), the man credited with establishing ecology as a modern field of study. He said he saw a fierce green fire in the eyes of a wolf he’d just killed, a transformative moment that began his long journey toward conservationism. By contrast, this film will only make your eyes glaze over.