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Four Horsemen – and other crisis documentaries

We are living in turbulent times. I could not help but coming to a selection of films screening at IDFA that not even make the point we are on a tipping point for our survival as a species, but rather depart from that point. Are we living in The End Times, as Slavoj Zizek puts it? The Four Horsemen in Ross Ashcrofts’ 2011 film are mere indicators for the tipping point we reach; banking crisis, terrorism, inequality and a resource crisis (see presentation below).

Inside Job (Ferguson, 2010) tells how the American political-economic system is highly corrupted because former financial sector personnel is hired as White House staff. As a result the financial system had been able to build increasingly volatile structures which had to fail and did so in 2008. No one has been held accountable, it is suggested because of the political power of those that were in charge. On top of that, even the economic educational system seems to be corrupted.

Surviving Progress (Mathieu Roy, 2011) adds the perspective of how mankind as a species is hard wired as a hunter-gatherer and is not fit to survive in todays complex world. Or will biogenetics be able to save us?

The Kingdom of Survival (M.A. Littler, 2011) consists of conversations with people like Noam Chomsky and country artists, and not surprisingly circles around the idea that every power structure has to be questioned constantly; especially the neoliberal paradigm.

With Into Eternity, Michael Madsen writes a letter into the future. He beautifully portrays the cold and creepy  structure of a nuclear waste disposal site. The underground site is constructed to be able to last 100.000 years, because that is the time nuclear waste needs to lose its toxic radiation. Four thousand metres under the earth he wonders if people a thousand generations from now will find and open the place, if they will understand us, if they will still understand our signs warning them for the deadly contents of the burial site. As it is the only structure that is now built to last such a long time, it might well be the only thing left of us in the year 102.011. Beautiful.