FILM ARCHIVE

Earth, A Documentary About Our Environment and How it is Changing

Anna Thorner

 June 2020

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this year, Cincinnati World Cinema streamed the environmental documentary Earth.

Earth (Erde in German) is a New York Times Critics’ pick documentary directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter (Our Daily Bread). Geyrhalter is an Austrian filmmaker and has produced, written, and worked as a cinematographer for numerous award winning documentaries. 

Nikolaus Geyrhalter Portrait

©Philipp Horak

In this documentary, we learn that several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans, with giant shovels, excavators, and explosives. Geyrhalter interviews the workers involved in these projects. He questions the workers and listens to their thoughts about their occupation and how it impacts the earth’s environment, landscapes, and economies. These interviews give the viewer a chance to learn about how we are affected by this.

“It is rather unlikely that we are on the right path. Although we don’t know everything, e.g. about the age of the dinosaurs, they ruled the planet much longer than we humans do. Humans are transforming the planet much more than any other species before us.”

Veronika Watah, museum guide

Nikolaus Geyrhalter filmed in seven locations in North America and Europe. In his documentary, we observe miners, engineers, and supervisors at work. Geyrhalter found the perfect balance between the overwhelmingly large scale of the projects and the lives of the individuals helping.

Mountain work area in Itlay

© NGF

Geyrhalter calculates every move of the camera. He balances the importance of the employee’s efforts and the ecological damage that inflicts the earth.

Earth has a broad international spectrum from California and Alberta to Austria, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and Germany. The world’s different views depict the infinite ways human beings transform their natural environments. Geyrhalter’s film ponders the question of how much earth has to make room for our demanding lifestyle. If you would like to learn more about this film, you can check out Geyrhalter’s website here

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