Blue Marble

P L A N E T A R Y – Trailer from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.

PLANETARY is a new documentary screening at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Earth Day, April 22nd (tomorrow) and in selected venues thereafter. I was lucky enough to be offered a sneak peak, but I wish I could make it over to the west coast because it’s a stunning thing, well deserving of viewing on the big screen.

I see how clichés like the term “a meditation on” come into being, because while PLANETARY could be described in a more down-to-earth way as simply a discussion about human existence on planet Earth, the use of stunning NASA footage, stunning nature footage and atmospheric music makes it a sensuous experience as well as an intellectual one. So, fuck it, it is, in a sense, a meditation on human existence on planet Earth — our place in the ecosystem, our catastrophic failure to reach a rational understanding of what that place should be, the fragility of the bright globe supporting all the life we know of in the universe. The film may give you a feeling of vertigo relating not just to space but to time and thought also. Ultimately, the piece is an argument for mindfulness, in which it locates mankind’s best hope for adapting to the planet. The cast list of  mindful talking heads includes astronauts Ron Garan and Mae Jemison, environmentalist Bill McKibben, anthropologist Wade Davis, and Head of the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu school, the 17th Karmapa.

The only imagery that seemed over-familiar was the KOYAANISQATSI-type cityscapes, usually New York and sometimes in time-lapse. Too aesthticized to work as a strong symbol of urban blight or life out of balance — the film would benefit from showing us a few ugly things to contrast with the genuinely staggering beauties. I would have thought space would have lost its power to be amazing after all these decades of manned orbital flight, but I defy you to hang onto your breath as that big blue marble rolls by, only two hundred and fifty miles down.

If you can’t make it to Glasgow, you will be able to pre-order the film soon at this link.

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