The Beam’s Top 6 Film Recommendations to Watch this Fall

Here are our top picks for impactful, informative, interesting and controversial content about sustainability.

Title: The True Cost
Director: Andrew Morgan
Length: 92 minutes
Year: 2015

Before watching The True Cost, I didn’t think I’ll be really surprised by anything I was about to see. I didn’t think I’d learn much either. I thought I already knew most of the things there are to know about the fashion industry and its repercussions on the workers and on the environment. I stopped buying from the companies who use sweat shops and turned to a more sustainable consumption a while ago already. Well, I was wrong. I was truly shocked.

The True Cost is not only a story about the clothes we wear. It’s about the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. It shows that while the price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, the human and environmental costs have increased dramatically. My anger grew as I was watching it. This groundbreaking documentary really pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider: who really pays the price for our clothing?

Watch it now if you can! And spread the word.

Title: Forget Shorter Showers
Director: Jordan Brown
Length: 12 minutes
Year: 2015

We’ve been the victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal life-style choices for organized political resistance.

Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that dancing around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions” and utterly insufficient responses such as taking shorter showers? What can be done instead to actually stop the destruction of the planet?

Title: Plastic China
Director: Jiuliang Wang
Length: 82 minutes
Year: 2017

Through the rolling hills of plastic waste can be heard the faint rustle and laughter of children scurrying and playing. The smiles that break across their grubby faces belie a bleak existence for the families that scrape by sorting plastic waste. Following Pen and his daughter Yi Jie, under the watchful eye of boss Kun, this film shows the lives of those harmed most by severe social inequality.

Title: The Islands and the Whales
Director: Mike Day
Length: 81 minutes
Year: 2017

Because their soil yields little bounty, the Faroese harvest their seas. As a result, the islanders are among the first to feel the impact of our ever more polluted oceans. Contaminated by the outside world, the whales they capture are toxic. The longtime hunting practices are threatened by dangerously high mercury levels in whales, decimated seabird populations and anti-whaling activists. Day explores the undeniably timely tensions between the environment, health, tradition and culture.

Title: Melting Ice
Director: Danfung Dennis
Length: 11 minutes
Year: 2017

“The hope is that people will think about their own carbon emissions.” — Danfung Dennis, Melting Ice

This short VR film narrated by Al Gore takes viewers on an immersive, 3D journey to the front lines of climate change and aims to help the audience connect global events to their personal lives as they will become an ice cap and follow the melting ice’s journey around the globe. With this movie, Dennis hopes Melting Ice brings to life the consequences of climate change.

Title: Downsizing
Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau
Length: 134 minutes
Year: 2017

“Nature is such a patient sculptor — grinding a tiny bit each day slowly, slowly for thousands of years to make such a supremely beautiful thing.” — Dr. Jorgen Asbjørnsen, Downsizing

As humankind struggle with environmental meltdown, Downsizing presents a world where people are given the option to shrink themselves down to five-inches tall to wipe out their carbon footprint and revel in the huge cost-savings of pint-sized existence. The social satire is about a man (Matt Damon) who hopes he can have a better life if he were to shrink himself, allowing him to live in wealth and splendour.

Find more recommendations in The Beam #7 — Subscribe now for more