ENERGIZED ( AKA MACHT ENERGIE) | MOVIE REVIEW

ENERGIZED was screening as part of the WINDOWS ON EUROPE FILM FESTIVAL, that is all done and dusted for 2014. The lineup was awesome and this is the last in our reviews from the festival. We also reviewed (from the festival) DOMESTICTHE IRISH PUBVIOLET and LAND OF STORMS. Suss their website, mark it in the diary for 2015 and if you can acquire some of the movies then do so and see some amazing European films that you would not normally get the chance to see. ENERGIZED is made by Allegro Films and distributed by Memento Films,  it had a festival exemption rating and runs for 90mins. All the best…..JK.

 

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ENERGIZED (MACHT ENERGIE) | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR WINDOWS ON EUROPE FILM FESTIVAL 2014 | MOVIE BANNER

 

REVIEW BY JOH MCPARLAND

Climate change is bad; I think we can all agree on that. Whether you are a believer or a sceptic, a warming planet is not the most conducive for humanity’s survival. Are we to blame? Is the planet’s predicament reversible? Why is the situation the way it is? What alternative solutions of energy are available? Austrian director Hubert Canaval addresses exactly none of these issues, in his pointlessly conspiracy filled documentary ENERGIZED, where big questions are asked, biased opinions are voiced, and everyone leaves the cinema feeling disappointed and depressed.

“Perhaps you went into the theatre with the wrong expectations,” say you, ever judicial reader. And you would be correct! But in my defence, allow me to reveal to you the film’s synopsis, lifted straight from the festival website:

Nuclear meltdowns, wars over oil and gas, climate change and spiralling energy consumption: we have reached a crossroads and radical choices must be made. But how can energy needs be met without destroying our own existence? Does clean energy exist? Why aren’t we using it? In this cinematic world tour of a global crisis, we meet the rebels who clash with corporations, and the pioneers who lead by example. It’s a clear-headed analysis of the problem, and of the profit motives which stand in the way of a solution.

 

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ENERGIZED (MACHT ENERGIE) | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR WINDOWS ON EUROPE FILM FESTIVAL 2014 | POWER LINES

 

For clarification, the film never references nuclear meltdowns. Wars are alluded to in the ranting of an Alaskan oil worker. Climate change is briefly mentioned at the start of the film with a sad looking polar bear sitting on a melting Arctic Popsicle. The sensationalised statement of “spiralling energy consumption” refers, I assume, to a quick info graphic explaining how the world is using more energy now than it did 100 years ago, which is obvious in the extreme when you take into account the more than four fold increase in global population since the 1900’s. The film does not even bother to answer the next, equally sensational query (“destroying our own existence?” ease up on the drama there buddy) which itself is followed by a pointless question whose answer (yes) is predicated by the existence of the third topic, the response to which is the ever convenient “global conspiracy” gem. The next two sentences basically sum up what the film is actually about, sans the whole “clear-headed analysis” portion, which even now still makes me chuckle at its absurdity.

My expectations grew from the film’s brief, a brief that I now recognise to have very little correlation with the documentary itself. It was like showing me a delicious looking chocolate cake, then telling me that not only would I not get to eat it, but that the cake is actually made out of concrete and is about to be launched at my head. And then they killed my dog, just because. Bastards. That is how jarringly reality clashed with the expectations that the film setup for me.

What the film does actually do is paint an ever increasingly depressing image of how doomed humanity is, by rattling off energy source after energy source and pointing out how bad they are. To summarise:

  • Oil from tar sands is bad because toxins from tailing ponds leaks into drinking water and kills people.
  • Gas from shale fracking is bad because gas and fracking toxins leaks into drinking water and kills people.
  • Nuclear power is bad because nuclear waste (wait for it) leaks into drinking water and kills people.
  • Hydroelectric dams are… good! Nope, tricked you, ENERGIZED paints them as bad too, because the diversion of watercourses has dramatic impacts on the livelihood of inhabitants downstream. Also, flooding of the upstream catchment area destroys trees that then rot and release methane into the atmosphere, which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which kills people.
  • Photovoltaic grids are the only energy source painted as good, though even they take a bashing in this film. “Surely there can be nothing wrong with capturing sunlight!” cry you, ever discerning reader. And you would be correct again (man, you guys are on fire today)! But far be it for ENERGIZED to show any sense of positivity in the tortuous journey it has subjected its viewers to thus far. After all, why end the documentary on a high when you can just point out yet another of humanity’s failings? Apparently, it is the dissemination of solar energy that we are screwing up. The two choices are: a few centralised super grids vs. multiple smaller decentralised community based grids. Heaven forbid that the two could work in concert; the film portrays the options as mutually exclusive, as if there is only a limited amount of sunshine to go around that old yello’ up there dishes out in discriminating units. And sure, why not, solar power leaks into drinking water and kills people.

 

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ENERGIZED (MACHT ENERGIE) | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW FOR WINDOWS ON EUROPE FILM FESTIVAL 2014 | INDUSTRY

 

Throughout the film, corporations and governments are portrayed as holding back new technology, refusing to acknowledge shortcomings with existing technology, restricting use of clean energy technology, denying faults, shifting blame, etc, all in pursuit of the mighty dollar. Why spend money cleaning up toxins or securing nuclear waste when there is no profit in it? Why support the development of decentralised solar grids when a super grid forces users to pay whatever big business wants? And so on, ad nauseam. We get it, The Man wants to screw you at every turn, but when all a film does is trash every form of energy under (and including) the sun and spout sensationalist conspiracy theories as Gospel truth, without presenting anything other than anecdotal evidence or disgruntled individual hearsay, it detracts greatly from the “educational” experience of the documentary. If I wanted to see a terrible and ultimately pointless movie involving global conspiracies, financial incentives and idiotic justifications, I would re watch THE INTERNATIONAL.

The competent production and cinematography does nothing to lift the film’s content out of the mire of bias and fear mongering it propagates. Normally I would not place so heavy a weighting on a movie’s substance, but when the film in question is classified as a documentary you tend to expect a little more from its subject matter than what ENERGIZED delivers. True or not, the whole conspiracy angle severely detracts from the informative experience that this documentary is trying to portray. I came to learn about energy and the environment, not about the deviousness and despicable nature of a select few individuals; I have the ABC’s PARLIAMENT QUESTION TIME for that.

In the end, this cake lying, dog killing film is not very good. Check out anything by David Attenborough for excellent environmental documentaries, or Mel Gibson’s CONSPIRACY THEORY for a highly enjoyable film about, coincidentally, conspiracy theories.

 

 

1 and a Half Pops