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