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Claus Mueller


Claus Mueller is a Film Festival Ambassador to filmfestivals.com

He is based in New York where he covers the festival scene.


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Planet of the Humans

 

Directed by Jeff Gibbs and Ozzie Zehner with Michael Moore as the executive producer   the documentary PLANET OF THE HUMANS was screened on the eve of Earth Day April 20, 2020 and subsequently shown free of charge on YouTube and viewed by early May by 5 million people. The documentary received a fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating of 68 out of 100. The film premiered at the Traverse City Film Festival on July 2019 but gained notoriety after its screening on You Tube in April and was accessible for free until May 25th when it was removed due to a copyright infringement claim by a British environmental photographer.

PLANET OF THE HUMANS Covers the devastation of the environment and our response to it through the green movement. Planet of the Humans received a positive evaluation by the general public but a mixed and frequently hostile one by individuals involved with organizations or groups which can be identified with green activism. Using  footage  from informal and expert interviews, frequently old archival material, visuals from solar farms, wind farms, and bio-mass  sites,  the documentary portrays the perspective that attempting to rectify environmental degradation and global warming through new technologies have failed to stall the use of carbon to generate energy.  The directors and Moore placed a great emphasis on the underlying cause of the failure of environmental activism in the United States to impact the accelerating global environment crisis.

 

Most of the negative assessments by journalists and academics of the documentary concentrate on the use of dated material, biased perspectives of the new technologies, limited understanding of biomass for generating energy, distortions of fact, and discouraging environmental activism. In some cases, divergent views are shared. One Guardian article conveys that the film is refreshingly contrarian, whilst another Guardian piece considers it a collection of falsehoods. One journalist detects in the film “a whiff of eugenics and eco fascism”. Many deplore that the filmmakers do not offer any solutions. What is startling about most of these critiques is their inability to address the driving factors of current environmental actions to limit the destruction of the planet, a view clearly articulated by the filmmakers in the last segment of the film. To mention but a few:  the embrace and funding of environmental green funds by corporate interests, such as The Green Century Funds, The Sierra Club and its Aspiration Funds, The Green Fund, The Alliance for Climate Protection, and others. Among the supporting corporations identified who are also actively involved in depleting global resources ranging from rain forests, to cattle, to energy extraction are Black Rock, Mc Donald’s, Chevron, and Exxon.  Some of the individuals   referred to as cooperating in global exploitation are Mike Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Bill McKidden and the Koch brothers. Al Gore is part of that group. His venture, a US subsidiary of Al Jazeera a satellite tv network which he helped to organize USA in 2004, had been financed by Quatari fossil fuel dollars and he made $70 million selling his shares. The same year he started a joint company with David Blood, Generation Investment Management, focusing on green ventures including the lucrative biofuel business involving deforestation. After marketing his film, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, and receiving the Nobel prize, Gore started charging $175,000 for his presentations.

For Gibbs, Zehner and Moore, the quest for wealth and profit is the root of the growing environmental catastrophe. The planet is being destroyed by a turbo-capitalist system which is predicated on constant economic growth, requiring that each year there is enough income to consume more products and services. Progress of this system and the relative impotence of environmental initiatives is reflected in Trump’s administration having close to 100 environmental regulations reversed or revoked to date.  Corporate interests embrace green and environmental groups because the activities of these groups and their academic adjuncts do not contradict or challenge the principal objectives of corporate profit and expansion.  As suggested by Gore’s guiding rational “Sustainable Capitalism” does not harm the system. To stop economic growth and reorient our beliefs of what constitutes the good life would be suicidal from a corporate perspective. But the long-term pandemic crisis faced now globally requires a radical reflection.   For the filmmakers, such re-thinking is an essential objective of the documentary.

 

 

 

Claus Mueller    filmexchange@gmail.com

 

 

About Claus Mueller

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