The Wind Journeys: Global Anxieties in the New Millennium

By Stella Hockenhull.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Post Millennium, the visual arts have witnessed the emergence of a variety of responses to the impact of global warming and damage to the planet. In 2001, David Buckland instigated a project entitled Cape Farewell which invited scientists, writers and artists to produce work as a reaction to climate change; this was followed by a number of worldwide artistic rejoinders to this issue. Correspondingly, contemporary cinema has witnessed a resurgence of interest in global warming and climate change issues, with documentary films such as “An Inconvenient Truth” (Guggenheim 2006), and “The Age of Stupid” (Armstrong 2009), which is a semi-fictional retrospective view of the present, and fiction films such as “The Day After Tomorrow” (Emmerich 2004). However, environmental concern extends beyond a focus on the destruction of the planet. Some of the imagery produced inadvertently expresses anxiety, yet also provides a compensatory element by alluding to the landscape as a therapeutic and liberating space. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Colombian director Ciro Guerra’s seminal film, “The Wind Journeys” (2009). This follows the journey of a musician who, following the death of his wife, decides to return his accordion to his teacher. Walking across vast expanses of desert, the musician is seen as a diminished figure in the landscape, accompanied only by his donkey and a young boy who wishes to learn to play. Themes of loneliness and isolation are visually constructed through Sublime imagery and, set in the past, the landscape appears unspoilt, yet isolates the characters. Arguably, this film operates as part of, what Raymond Williams terms, ‘a structure of feeling’ in the twenty-first century, offering a response to climate change and global anxieties.

Keywords: Sublime, Landscape, Global Anxiety, Cinema, Wind Journeys, Colombian Cinema, Visual Arts, Cape Farewell

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.279-288. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 745.608KB).

Stella Hockenhull

Senior Lecturer, Film Studies, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, UK

Dr. Stella Hockenhull is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK, and her research interests lie in the correlation between film and painting aesthetics. She is the author of a book entitled Neo-Romantic Landscapes: an Aesthetic Approach to the Films of Powell and Pressburger, and her forthcoming publication entitled Aesthetics and Neo-Romanticism in Film: Landscapes in Contemporary British Cinema is due out in March 2013. She is currently researching the ways in which the contemporary visual arts post Millennium express global anxieties through their representation of landscape.

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