Film Review: The Tale of Two Green Revolutions: "2040" and "Breaking Habits"
Welcome to Ronan’s Watch It or Don’t, two film reviews for the price of one. In this instalment, the tale of two green revolutions. In the green corner, Breaking Habits follows the battle for medical marijuana production in Merced country California by narco nuns. In the other green corner, 2040, presenting a grim but preventable vision of the future of our planet from director of That Sugar Film.
Climate change is a charged and ever-present topic of debate. However, even more unavoidable than climate deniers are the constantly compounding pressures of human-directed pollution on the environment. The Great Barrier Reef is bleached, the Amazon is deforested and the future bleak. I present a small solution: go see 2040.
As you’re watching, you will begin to form an idea of the director and narrator Damon Gameau. He's an Aussie dad, and he’s acutely aware that his four-year-old daughter will inherit the coming storm of climate change. When conveying the urgency and severity of the problem, Damon does not sell the truth short, nor diminish the work ahead of us, but frames the solution as actionable steps. By condensing a gloomy issue into realistic and practical solutions, the future begins to look a lot more hopeful.
2040 is an exercise in fact-based dreaming. Its rules state that the solutions explored must already exist today in some form, before predicting the development and effect of each technology on the planet. As a result of these constraints, all of the amazing, ingenious, community-empowering, nature-harnessing, technological ideas explored are real. They are actionable, and are presented by Damon and the associated experts in a visually appealing and enjoyable format.
Ideas 2040 explores include: regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, a circular economy model, marine regeneration and the empowerment of women and girls. As you leave the cinema, the feeling left by 2040 is one of hope for the future, simplifying and codifying the hard yards we will have to work to get there with our planet intact.
The key word to describe 2040 is actionable. While big ideas like micro-grids, kelp farms and self-driving cars will require research and investment, from - little things, big things - grow. Alongside the release of the movie 2040 comes a sister website: www.whatsyour2040.com. After answering some questions about your current lifestyle, means, and skills, the site gives you a list of actionable changes to improve your impact on the place you live in.
4 out of 5 Stars (See It)
Sister Kate runs an unorthodox church in Merced County, California. She is Mother Superior of the Sisters of the Valley, a convent dedicated to cultivating the controversial crop: marijuana. The sisters process their grow into CBD rich oils that they sell online as a medicine. In Merced, this practice is illegal and the whole town knows what the criminal convent is up to. Interviewed characters include the Merced County Sheriff, an anti-drug pastor, conflicted DEA officers destroying tons of product while recounting poor families who had invested their last savings into a crop, as well as local cops to whom “the law is the law”.
Breaking Habits editing is noteworthy and its use of home video is poignant at times. Powerful and emotional juxtapositions are constructed using childhood home video and present predicaments. I just wish that the editors left more of this film on the cutting room floor. In short, it’s not very good and it’s just too long.
Sister Kate is a real character, and she narrates a lot. In a meeting with Merced County councillors, Kate announces to her lawyer’s (and my own) relief that she will not speak during the negotiations. What follows is a brief break from the Kate Show that ends before you can appreciate the breathing space.
The film is a reasonable 87 minutes, but to stay for the whole film you’ll need a little something to keep you couch-locked. There is only so long you can listen to someone talk about weed until you feel like you’re back in high school. Maybe if weed is really your thing, Breaking Habits could be more of a cult classic. For everyone else, you can watch for the true story of complicated characters who fight gun battles and city officials so they can sell CBD oil to a growing and hungry semi-legal market.