I am officially back from Lloyminster and looking forward to hopefully getting some baking and cooking in this upcoming weekend. Today I wanted to share my thoughts on something unrelated to baking: a few documentaries I got to watch at the Global Visions Film Festival this past weekend.
Ping Pong is a movie about 8 players (aged between 80 and 100 years old!) who compete in the 80+ world championships for ping pong. This film was entertaining from beginning to end. I was so drawn into each player’s story and wanted each one of them to take first place. The film did a great job of exploring the challenges of getting older, persevering through these challenges and making the most of the time we have. Each player was truly inspirational: from Les who can lift a gigantic bar bell with impossible ease to Lisa who is the sassiest senior I’ve ever seen. At the same time, the film was also very touching and left me holding back tears several times. Overall, Ping Pong is definitely a well-done film that is worth watching. And, needless to say, I hope I’m like these awesome seniors when I reach that age!
Fruit Hunters is a film about… well… fruit! And about those who are fascinated and even obsessed with it. I was initially drawn to this film because of the unusual subject and figured it would be either hit or miss. While there were a few slower and cheesy parts in the movie, overall, I was pleasantly surprised. The film follows several groups of people: fruit growers, fruit connoisseurs and those looking to find and preserve rare species. It definitely makes you reflect on our relationship with food and nature. So many different fruits were looked at from the well-known Cavendish banana to exotic species like miracle berry fruit, citrus caviar and ice cream bean. By the end of the film, I wanted not only to try as many new types of fruit as I could, but also to go on a fruit-hunter adventure of my own. I came away from the film a little bit saddened by how many fruit species we have lost or are currently at risk of losing if they aren’t preserved in time.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of carbon credit programs which have been established in an attempt to reduce carbon emmissions. Essentially, companies are allowed to emit a certain amount of pollution. If they participate in a United Nations approved program to reduce pollution in another part of the world, they are given offsetting carbon credits which allow them to emit more pollution, creating a financial incentive for the companies. Carbon Rush explores how these programs are impacting communities in lower income countries.
I was horrified to hear personal accounts of the atrocious impact that these programs are having on communities internationally. Entire towns find themselves struggling to survive. Communities are being taken advantage of, their livelihoods are taken away and water sources or farmland are being compromised and completely restricted. It was difficult to see the pain in these victims’ lives. It was also difficult to comprehend that these programs are marketed to appear as aiding the environment and planet in North America while they are creating such hardships for people across the globe. The programs help make more $$’s for big companies and it’s even questionable if the programs even succeed in reducing carbon emissions in the first place. The film left me feeling somewhat overwhelmed and hopeless. However, the first step towards change is raising greater awareness. I think Carbon Rush is definitely worth watching and encourage everyone to share its message. Maybe if consumers know the truth behind carbon credit programs, we won’t be fooled into thinking that we should support companies that participate in them.
Gatekeepers documents the first ever interviews with former leaders of the Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence agency. This film was intense and powerful. The leaders discuss their actions and reflect on past decisions made. Scenes of suicide bombers are difficult to watch, and having spent 3 years of my life in Israel, I found some scenes in the movie disturbingly reminiscent of that past. I had heard this film coined as “provocative” and “controversial” and, after watching it, can definitely see how it can appear so – especially to those of us who are far removed from the situation. All I can say is that these men have had to make more difficult decisions than most of us can ever imagine and that alone should be respected. If you want to gain insight into the conflict situation in the Middle East and how Israel has dealt with bringing safety to its people and attempting to diffuse this regional hostility, this is the movie for you!
These four documentaries were completely different but I really enjoyed each one. I am a huge fan of documentaries in general and love being able to learn something new. Have you guys seen any of these films? Or do you have any documentaries you can recommend?