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Beautiful Islands Film Review

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Climate Change Documentary Chronicles Effect of Global Warming

Do you believe in global warming? If not, you probably shouldn't move to Venice, Italy, Shishmaref, Alaska or Tuvalu, Polynesia, the islands which are the focus of this daunting documentary chronicling the fallout visited upon the planet as a consequence of climate change. The visually-captivating movie marks the directorial debut of Tokyo's Kana Tomoko, who mostly lets the pictures do the talking in a film featuring precious little in terms of dialogue. In fact, rather than having experts weigh-in, most of the speaking here is in anecdotal observations of indigenous people from the affected areas, especially children, the future generation about to inherit mammoth ecological challenges.

For instance, Tuvalu, a Polynesian paradise located in the South Pacific, is a virtually flat country which is apparently on the verge of literally sinking into the sea. As one local observes, water is encroaching from every direction, even from below, so nobody knows where to reinforce the soil. The traditional way of life is threatened in Venice, too, where everything from public piazzas to shopping malls routinely get swamped during high tide. There, we're introduced to 13 year-old Claudio, the forlorn son of a gondolier who frets that he won't be able to follow in his father's footsteps.

The situation is far more dire up in Shishmaref, near the North Pole, where not only is ground disappearing but so are people, such as the son of an Eskimo who perished when he fell through a crack in the rapidly melting Arctic ice. The problem is that rising temperatures have led to a thinning of the permafrost which in turn has resulted in dozens of oceanfront homes being swallowed up by the rapidly-rising seacoast.

A heartbreaking expose' which leaves no doubt that dramatic environmental changes are unfolding at every latitude, whether they be the result of the wrath of God or of human overconsumption of fossil fuels and other natural resources.

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG for violence, mild epithets, smoking and brief nudity.
In Tuvaluan, Italian and Inuit with subtitles.
Running time: 106 Minutes
Distributor: Eleven Arts

To see a trailer for, Beautiful Islands, click play:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

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