By Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times
A movie thousands of years in the making, “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” takes cameras to where our consumptive need has most alarmingly re-engineered the planet. It’s also, in many ways, a document of a spiritual/environmental undoing.
Filming across a dozen countries, Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky continue the visual breadth of their previously observed warning shots about the scope of progress (“Manufactured Landscapes,” “Watermark”) with a reflective tour of excavation, industry and decimation that argues we’ve already moved into a new geological epoch owned entirely by us.
Dotted with alarming facts delivered in gravely intoned voice-over by Alicia Vikander, “Anthropocene” finds the terrible awe in town-destroying terraforming projects in Germany worked by earthmovers of “Mad Max”-like magnitude, the sweeping wretchedness of a city-sized African landfill scavenged by thousands of the poor working alongside sickly looking pelicans, and what the acid-caused bleaching of coral reefs looks like via time lapse photography.
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