The Age of Stupid
An old man (Pete Postlethwaite) living in a devastated world, watches 'archive' footage from today and asks: Why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?
Directed by Franny Armstrong
Produced by Lizzie Gillett
Editor: David G. Hill
Composer: Chris Brierley
Featuring music from: Radiohead, Depeche Mode, The Stupid Orchestra
Executive Producer: John Battsek
Featuring: Pete Postlethwaite
A Spanner Films production in association with Passion Pictures
THE AGE OF STUPID is the new documentary-drama-animation hybrid from Director Franny Armstrong (McLibel, Drowned Out) and Oscar-winning Producer John Battsek (One Day In September, In the Shadow of the Moon).
"Bold, supremely provocative, and hugely important, her film is a cry from the heart as much as a roar for necessary change." Sukhdev Sandhu, The Daily Telegraph
Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name of the Father, Brassed Off, The Usual Suspects) stars as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055. He watches 'archive' footage from 2008 and asks: Why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?
Runaway climate change has ravaged the planet by 2055. Pete plays the founder of The Global Archive, a storage facility located in the (now melted) Arctic, preserving all of humanity's achievements in the hope that the planet might one day be habitable again. Or that intelligent life may arrive and make use of all that we've achieved. He pulls together clips of "archive" news and documentary from 1950-2008 to build a message showing what went wrong and why. He focuses on six human stories:
- Alvin DuVernay, is a paleontogolist helping Shell find more oil off the coast of New Orleans. He also rescued more than 100 people after Hurricane Katrina, which, by 2055, is well known as one of the first "major climate change events".
- Jeh Wadia in Mumbai aims to start-up a new low-cost airline and gets a million Indians flying.
- Layefa Malemi lives in absolute poverty in a small village in Nigeria from which Shell extracts tens of millions of dollars worth of oil every week. She dreams of becoming a doctor, but must fish in the oil-infested waters for four years to raise the funds.
- Jamila Bayyoud, aged 8, is an Iraqi refugee living on the streets of Jordan after her home was destroyed - and father killed - during the US-led invasion of 2003. She's trying to help her elder brother make it across the border to safety.
- Piers Guy is a windfarm developer from Cornwall fighting the NIMBYs of Middle England.
- 82-year-old French mountain guide Fernand Pareau has witnessed his beloved Alpine glaciers melt by 150 metres.
Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2010
Copyright Date: 2008
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-945-3
"This is a signally important film--a very clever and very powerful reminder of exactly where we stand on this fragile, lovely planet."
Bill McKibben, Educator, Environmentalist, Author, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"Very, very impressive film. At a time when climate change has become far too politicized, The Age of Stupid is the wake up call we do not want to miss."
Dr. Paul Andrew Mayewski, Director, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine
"Timely and poignant, this film reinforces our collective responsibility, wherever we live and whatever we do, to act now in preventing foretold consequences of climate change. The film's message is usefully grounded in the lives and emotions of real people with complicated yet adaptable circumstances. I would certainly share its message with my students, colleagues, campus and community."
Dr. Jonathan Scherch, Core Faculty, The Center for Creative Change, Antioch University
"A wry yet all-too-close to reality movie...An award-winning cautionary tale with an overwhelmingly critical message, The Age of Stupid deserves the highest recommendation."
The Midwest Book Review
"If Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth didn't lead frightened folks to renounce all green-house-gas-emitting pleasures, then The Age of Stupid might do the trick...Recommended."
"The stories coalesce powerfully, and each makes its own impression...Highly recommended for all collections."
"The out and out winner this year was chosen for the sheer scale of its ambition and the verve of its realization on every level. The Age of Stupid is a powerful and unforgettable film that leaves you honor bound to force governments to take action and that the judges recommend everybody must see."
Grierson Awards Jury
"Adding a touch of sci-fi showmanship to its sounding the alarm on climate change, The Age of Stupid is a lively and accessible call to action before it's too late -- the tipping point, it argues, is just around the corner...The focus...is on a few individuals who provide examples of the causes, effects and preventions of climate change...These human-interest threads are deftly woven into a mosaic of news reporting (mostly archival, occasionally faked to portray the future), interviewed experts and zippy editorial/visual gambits, including some clever animation segments. Tone is often antic but never flippant...the docu succeeds at being a colorful and entertaining package that's well turned in all departments."
Dennis Harvey, Variety
"There's nothing in The Age of Stupid from the UK documentary filmmaker Franny Armstrong (best known for her last doco McLibel) that scientists and commentators haven't already told us a zillion times. But the truth about the destructive impact of humankind on the planet still hits home like a hammer blow...Fortunately the documentary is so tightly constructed and dynamic you leave the cinema energised rather than terrified and depressed."
Ruth Hessey, Movietime, ABC Radio (Australia)
"The Age of Stupid is more passionate, more emotionally charged than the Al Gore-fronted An Inconvenient Truth...Bold, supremely provocative, and hugely important, her film is a cry from the heart as much as a roar for necessary change."
Sukhdev Sandhu, The Daily Telegraph
"Think An Inconvenient Truth but with a personality, numerous ones actually, as Armstrong hops the globe interviewing an intriguing cross section of folks...whose lives have all been affected by some aspect of the global warming phenomenon. Their stories vividly highlight the various tentacles of the climate change problem and, in some cases, its potential solutions...[I]t also provides a visual and emotional power that drives home this absorbing film's crucial cautionary message."
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"Educational and inventive, the documentary speaks with a strong editorial voice from a backward-looking vantage point. It's a narrative device that proves most effective."
"[Franny Armstrong's] film is nothing if not rousing...and if its mode is unapologetically didactic, then in a society in which 60 percent of the people believe, scientific evidence to the contrary, that man has no appreciable impact on climate change, then perhaps a round of didacticism is precisely what we need."
Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine
"The terrifying documentary about climate change The Age of Stupid is the most imaginative and dramatic assault on the institutional complacency shrouding the issue...The power of this shameless campaigning film is that it gives dates and deadlines. It explores options and ideas. It names culprits...The conclusion is probably spot-on: we are inches away from being the first species on the planet to knowingly kill itself off."
James Christopher, The (London) Times
"The film is a wake-up call with an elegiac tone--not quite hectoring but pressing. It goes well beyond the arguments about science that Al Gore tried to straighten out in An lnconvenient Truth. This is about human nature, greed and personal responsibility. It aims to scare and galvanise--and it's pretty good at both."
Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald
"A scorching appeal for humans to avoid knowingly up-ending the earth's climate."
Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times
"By the time The Age of Stupid's flashbacks are over and the viewer is stuck in a ravaged 2055, the urge to do something immediate is palpable and powerful."
Scott Thill, Wired
"Left me watching the credits role with a sense of urgency that even as a long-time climate activist I had not experienced before."
Sean Pool, Climate Progress
"The film successfully presents the case that man made climate change can be dramatically reduced if action is taken in the imminent future. If left unchecked it will ruin the planet and the lives of billions of people. The film is informative throughout. By using the stories of real people it, for the most part, avoids feeling like a lecture."
Donald Munro, Eye for Film
"By speaking directly to the disaffected and disinterested, its light tone successfully disguises an intent that could not be more serious or more urgent, which is no small feat."
Brian Duff, Film Ink
"The wonderfully creative Armstrong...largely avoids talking heads, lengthy...voiceovers, and other stifling staples of many documentaries. The pace is taut and the portraits intimate and playful, with an eye for gem-like moments of absurdity."
Anna Barnett, Nature Reports
Innovative, rich and flexible 2-DVD set:
Disc 1 contains the film with clean version, subtitles in 11 languages* including SDH captions in English, chapter selection, the ability to play the film following the different characters, or the "archivist", or the "archival" footage, or just the animation, plus Dolby 2.0 or Dolby 5:1 surround sound.
* Subtitle language options besides English SDH captions are Spanish, French, Italian, German, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, Thai and Vietnamese.
Disc 2 contains 6 hours of extras including extended interviews with George Monbiot, Richard Heinberg and others; deleted scenes; the launch of the 10:10 campaign; The Making of...film plus 8 short climate change films.
Awards and Festivals
Nominated for Best Drama and Best Cinema Documentary, Grierson: British Documentary Awards
San Francisco International Film Festival
Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival
London International Documentary Film Festival
Middle East International Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Austin Film Festival
Ekofilm, Czech Republic
Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival
Ekofilms, Rodos International Film & Visual Arts Festival
New British Film Festival
Delray Beach Film Festival
Bird's Eye View Festival
Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival
Cornwall Film Festival
MountainTop Human Rights Film Festival
Phangan Film Festival
BurlingtonGreen Eco-Film Festival
Borderlines Film Festival
La Rochelle Film Festival
Strawberry Earth Environmental Film Festival
Wakefield International Film Festival
Gainesville Environmental Film and Art Festival
South to South Film Festival, Indonesia
Princeton Environmental Film Festival
CNEX Documentary Film Festival, Seoul
Citizenship and Civics
Climate Change/Global Warming
War and Peace
A report from the front lines of climate change in Kenya, India, Canada, the Arctic, China, and Montana where people's lives have already been dramatically altered.
Examines the media strategies, on both sides, that have resulted in the US government's failure to take decisive action on global warming.
Looks at the battle over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in the context of Alaska's accelerated warming.
Satirical look at the inadequacies of the concept of carbon offsetting.
A Sea Change
Ocean acidification threatens over one million species with extinction--and with them, our entire way of life.
DIRT! The Movie
The story of Earth's most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility, from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation.
Turning Down The Heat
Renewable energy sources and energy conservation are the solution to global warming.
Was the unprecedented mass coral bleaching in 1998 proof of global warming?
The Ecological Footprint
Dr. Mathis Wackernagel introduces the Ecological Footprint, a resource accounting tool that measures human demand on the Earth.
Big Spuds, Little Spuds
The impact of climate change and monoculture on one of the world's staple food crops.
Oil on Ice
... more Reviews
"This film is a fantastic achievement...knocks spots off An Inconvenient Truth."
Mark Anslow, The Ecologist
"One of the most important films of the year (perhaps decade)..."
Jon Reiss, The Huffington Post
"Maddening and motivating...A compelling argument for action before The Age of Stupid becomes, irrevocable, our own."
"I wish I could say thatThe Age of Stupid is a series of alarmist overstatements, but I fear it is right on the money. The old quote from the 'pogo' cartoon strip ran over and over in my mind as I watched: 'We have met the enemy and it is us.'...Riveting."
Constance Alexander, Murray Ledger and Times