A Fierce Green Fire Review
By Haley Brennan
A Fierce Green Fire is a documentary film produced, directed and co- written by Mark Kitchell. Additional crew members include Marc N. Weiss, Ken Schnieder, Veronica Selver, Gary Weimberg, Jon Beckhardt and Vincente Franco. This film’s distributor is First Run Features. The film is broken up into five acts, each with a different narrator. The first act, narrated by Robert Redford, centers around David Brower and the Sierra Club’s fight to stop dams in the Grand Canyon. The second act, narrated by Ashley Judd, tells the story of Lois Gibbs, a homeowner in Love Canal, and her struggle, along with her fellow residents, to gain government protection against 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals. The third act, narrated by Van Jones, highlights Paul Watson and Greenpeace’s attempts to save whales and baby harp seals. The fourth act, narrated by Isabel Allende, discusses Chico Mendes and Brazilian rubbertrapper’s struggle to save the Amazon rainforest. Finally, the fifth act, narrated by Meryl Streep, talks about Bill McKibben and his 25 year long fight to get the world to address climate change. This film is an expository film, because it is classic documentary style. It employs the use of interviews, footage and narration by celebrity guests, and has a very educational feel.
I believe the thesis of this film is the fight to stop climate change has been around for a long time, and it is up to us to continue this fight- we haven’t lost yet. Climate change is not a myth, and people who believe it is need to wake up. I believe breaking up the film into five acts was extremely smart of the filmmaker to do. This film is showing environmental struggles throughout the decades, and there is a massive amount of information in the film, Breaking the film up into acts lets the viewer focus on one message or fight at a time. This film is extremely relevant historically, because apart from the interviews, all of the footage is found footage. The footage makes the film authentic and accurate. This film also brought up knowledge we had gained from reading Rachel Carson’s A Silent Spring. It was interesting to see how her and her campaign to stop the spread of pesticides fit into the history of environmental fights. This film had many strengths, such as the found footage, the music and the old commercials that tied into the film’s theme. The found footage, commercials and music all pushed the idea that this is real, there is no denying it. This is our history just as much as the civil rights movement or gay rights activism. The only weaknesses I could find with the film are that it doesn’t show the other sides to the issues. However, climate change is real, and people who believe global warming is a myth don’t necessarily belong in an activist film.
I really enjoyed this film, I felt it completely belonged in an environmental activism class. I think the structure made it easy to follow, while still presenting people with difficult and challenging information. It was interesting to see how all the environmental fights we have heard about fit into our history. The act I enjoyed the most was Act 2, which was about Lois Gibb’s and her fight at Love Canal. I enjoyed this because in addition to her fighting for the environment, I believe this was unknowingly a feminist movement. These women, “housewives” as politicians called them, were doing their own research and standing up for what they knew to be true. They took the planet’s safety and their children’s safety into their own hands, instead of waiting for someone else to do it. They didn’t stop until they had the White House’s promise that they would be protected from the harmful chemicals at Love Canal. If there are more people willing to fight as hard as Lois, the planet can stop its downward spiral.
Watch the Trailer Here: