Anna Jones, Marketing Manager at Clapham Picturehouse, writes on this week’s Discover Tuesdays film, compelling call-to-arms doc Ice And The Sky.
Ice And The Sky (U)
Director: Luc Jacquet
France, 2015, 89 mins. French with English subtitles.
Originally released to coincide with the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, and chosen as the closing film at Cannes the same year, Ice And The Sky tells the story of 83-year-old pioneering glaciologist Claude Lorius. Director Luc Jacquet (March Of The Penguins) follows him to Antarctica one final time as he ruminates on a remarkable career exploring uncharted territory.
One of the first scientists to voice concerns about global warming, Claude Lorius dedicated his life to studying the icescapes of Antarctica. Consumed by a post-war thirst for knowledge, he first ventured to Charcot base in 1956, when he was a mere 23. Upon arrival after a gruelling journey by ship, he was immediately captivated by the spectacular and formidable glacial landscape, stating: “From this moment on, I would be 23 till the end of my days, forever consumed by this unforgettable sight.”
We are treated to years of exploration and discovery, plane crashes and ice explosions, all captured on film by Lorius and his team. The brooding voiceover hints at the significance of their discoveries: through sheer persistence, digging deeper and deeper into the ice, Lorius unearthed evidence of the ambient temperature of the planet spanning thousands of years. The findings were unmistakable – the huge increase in CO2 over the past century proved that humankind is responsible for the massive acceleration in global warming. Studies of dust particles in the ice samples also led to another sinister discovery – radioactive matter was present in them. Lorius was able to pinpoint every atomic explosion ever to have occurred, thus proving how far-reaching nuclear explosions were.
Old camera footage is punctuated by newer, sweeping, slow shots of endless glaciers, spectacular rock formations and glistening water. Ice And The Sky is aesthetically and psychologically spine-tingling. As our narrator states at the beginning of the film, “progress comes at a cost.” This personal and introspective account of one man’s work shows the rapid impact that humans have had on global warming in the past hundred years. Leaving us with an air of melancholy, Lorius’s legacy is preserved in the glaciers. The shadow of a man looming over ice in the opening shot of the film seems ever more poignant – despite decades of hard work and hard facts, he has not seen a change for the better. Powerful, beautiful and affecting, Ice And The Sky is essential viewing for anyone who cares about the fate of our planet.
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