FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead
It seems more like a decade than a year since VIFF last came round. Make that two decades. With Copenhagen’s failure fast becoming a dot in the rear view mirror, one filmmaker has returned to footage from the first “Earth Summit” in Rio for inspiration. In Severn, The Voice of Our Children, Jean-Paul Jaud frames his thoughts for the future of the human race around the resonant words of David Suzuki’s daughter in 1992, when, at 12 years of age, she told delegates at the Rio Earth summit, “What you do makes me cry at night.” Now 29, and living in Haida Gwaii, Severn is still crying, but the mother-to-be is not totally without hope. Jaud balances a teary-eyed and elegiac tone with some encouraging portraits of organic pioneers around the world. I particularly liked the detailed portrait of Takao Furuno, a sage Japanese rice farmer who has used fish and ducks to fertilize rice fields and control pests, with a 30 percent increase in crop yield over industrial farming methods.