Over recent weeks I’ve seen a number of films centred on political issues from the 60s and 70s. The Sapphires was an uplifting and amusing true story about an Aboriginal girl group who performed to troops in Vietnam during the war, and When I Rise and Sing Your Song were both moving documentaries about various artists’ participation in the American Civil Rights Movement.
The following generations like the Millennials (or Generation Y) are less easily defined by their challenges. Most recently there has been the financial crises but, banking industry aside, it seems environmental concerns will be their most polarising and confronting challenge. There is any number of issues to address: climate change, energy sources, genetically modified food, conservation, industry, health affects, food shortages and population increases.
It’s the challenge to find new energy sources that feature in this week’s 'Double Exposure' documentaries. I was under the impression wind power is ‘clean’ and ‘green’, but the experience of the inhabitants of Meredith in upstate New York certainly give pause for thought. Windfall (Wednesday 29th August, 8.30pm) is directed by Laura Israel and looks at what happens to a local community when the wind power companies came knocking. It turns out going green isn’t as easy or romantic as it sounds, and the consequences for this small country town are bigger than they ever imagined. It’s certainly a thought-provoking documentary, in particular given the interest in wind power in New Zealand.
I have to admit I’ve never been tempted by the idea of a hybrid car (I don’t like doing things by halves) but after watching Revenge of the Electric Car (Thursday 30th August, 8.30pm) I have to say I’m intrigued by the idea of a fully electric plug-in vehicle. It somehow feels different, futuristic and adventurous, and maybe I’m over spending a fortune at gas stations with little sign of service and customer loyalty.
The electric car story is a great tale. It’s filled with entrepreneurs, risk takers, and over the top personalities, and multinational corporations who happily neglected investment in electric cars until it was impossible to do so any longer. This doco has done its job as far as I am concerned, I’ve already chosen my electric car of choice - a Tesla Model S sedan would suit me just fine.
My final pick of the week is David Lynch’s surreal cult hit, his debut feature film Eraserhead (Sunday 2nd September, 8.30pm). Disturbing, challenging, dark, unsettling, strange, brilliant - these are just a few of the words that spring to mind when I think of this film. Lynch himself described the film as a “dream of dark and troubling things”.
Written, produced and directed by Lynch, it took five years to shoot and edit this masterpiece on a budget reported to be around US$20,000. While many film critics and writers have tried to make sense of this film, Lynch believed it’s up to each individual to interpret, depending on their own experiences.
As he told the The Soho Weekly News in 1978, "The whole film is undercurrents of sort of subconscious ... you know, and it kind of wiggles around in there, and it's how it strikes each person. It definitely means something to me, but I don't want to talk about that. It means other things to other people, and that's great."
David Lynch is our featured director throughout September and Eraserhead is followed by Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart and Mulholland Drive. It’s going to be a good month.