May 07, 2007
"An Inconvenient Truth." For whom?
With much trepidation I viewed "An Inconvenient Truth". Alas, my fears were unfounded since most of what I saw, was already known to me. My apprehension about being confronted with an unknown or/and harsh reality were put to rest. Strangely enough, I didn't find myself happy about that; after all I had rid myself of a fear, an apprehension had been dealt with. What was it that tugged at my conscience and wouldn't let me breathe a sigh of relief? Why couldn't I simply say, " I finally watched "An Inconvenient Truth", and I'm not all shaken up because of it." It could be due to one of two reasons: one that the content of the documentary was not 'earth shattering' as I'd expected it to be, and second, given that I was mostly familiar with the content presented, why was I then not able to simply walk away from it. What was the dilemma brewing within me?
I gave this confusion much thought, and also chewed upon my pondering for quite a while after which I came up with some findings that were rather untoward. The 'truth' of the film is 'inconvenient' only to some. Most of the world is not even aware of the truth because they have more urgent things on their minds; like their next meal! They are totally consumed by their struggle to survive. Consequently, they are oblivious of Gore's 'truth' and the need to know it; convenient or otherwise. Then there are some that recognize the 'truth', and also find it 'inconvenient'; as a result, are doing whatever little they can do to appease their environment-friendly-conscience: cleaning up a river bed, using paper bags, recycling plastic.... Needless to say, their efforts are not making the cut.
Then, there are those to whom the truth is crystal clear but not inconvenient: in fact, this truth facilitates their cause. Giant multinationals, and the influential people who sit on its management boards are more than aware of Gore's truth, and find it most convenient and profitable because it pays for their million dollar salaries. Did these people watch the film? In all likelihood they did; to be able to say they did when making pleasantries with golf buddies in a country club!
What was Al Gore's purpose while making this documentary? If it was to inform the masses, then I'm not so sure he succeeded. The ordinary man did not perhaps see his documentary because ordinary people don't pay eight odd dollars to watch graphs and tables on the big screen! Gore would have been better off making a movie along the lines of "Blood Diamond" or "The Constant Gardner" because that would have at least brought to light the cause that he's fighting for. "Blood Diamond" for example, was an all out action movie, but it did make ordinary people cognizant of the inhuman ways in which diamonds are mined in Sierra Leone. "The Constant Gardner", on the other hand, was more of an adventure cum suspense movie with some captivating photography, and that movie did inform the masses about the unethical drug trials being carried out by multinational pharmaceutical companies in poor African countries. Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" definitely had an all important message to convey, but did the message get conveyed? How far and how clear?
Why didn't Al Gore write a book instead or go on a lecture circuit to spread his message? Why did he choose film as a medium to propagate a cause so urgent and so important, and especially since the life of our planet depends on it?