Newspaper article

Opening in Minneapolis: 'Chasing Ice,' a Film That Moves Skeptics to Tears

Newspaper article

Opening in Minneapolis: 'Chasing Ice,' a Film That Moves Skeptics to Tears

Article excerpt

I watch Bill O'Reilly every day. I love Bill O'Reilly. I am proud to be an American. But I saw this movie, "Chasing Ice," today. It hasn't just changed me about global warming. It has changed me as a person.

I did not believe in global warming. Every time someone mentioned global warming to me I told them, if they wanted to remain in my home, they needed to step out, because I said it was bullshit, excuse my language. And I saw this movie and I am going to apologize to anyone I talked into believing there was no global warming. I have to undo my damage and I will.

Just when you think nothing can possibly change the minds of folks who have surrendered their judgment to a cadre of professional propagandists, along comes a quote like that.

Lightly compressed here, the words were spoken spontaneously, on video, by a 60-year-old woman who was leaving a movie theatre and struggling to hold back tears. (The whole interview, running not quite two minutes, can be viewed here.)

As for "Chasing Ice," the film that had moved her to those emotions, to a new perspective on our imperiled planet - and, quite possibly, to real activism - it opens in Minneapolis on Friday night, at the Uptown.

The photographer who inspired the film, James Balog, is scheduled to do a short Q&A session between the 7:30 showing (which looks to be sold out) and the 9:35.

Balog was climate skeptic

Interestingly, Balog has described himself as a skeptic about climate change when he began the work that grew into "Chasing Ice." An accomplished nature photographer for National Geographic and other publications, he went to Iceland in 2005 and, in the words of one reviewer, came away

obsessed with documenting the staggering speed with which the icebergs of Greenland, Iceland and Alaska are crumbling into the sea. [Director Jeff] Orlowski films as Balog and a small team of young scientists go on a mad mission to embed dozens of time-lapse cameras into the rock walls above various ice fields.

Those cameras take one image every hour, and when Balog and his team, known as the "Extreme Ice Survey," assemble the footage, they discover that glacier fields the size of Lower Manhattan are receding at an astonishing rate. Still and live-action footage captures the ice sliding into the sea with exquisite grace, which makes it all the more wrenching.

"Chasing Ice" has impressed enough people to win prizes at a string of film festivals and also to make the shortlist for an Oscar, according to Variety.

Some reviews are mixed; here's one that faults the film for devoting too many of its 76 minutes to documenting how Balog did his work, too little to the images that work produced.

You can't please everybody, I guess.

But the more important work is not to please people but to provoke and move and change them, a challenge that seems to get harder all the time. …

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