‘HOME’ (2009)

I have had this saved as a draft since January, but as I’m writing it in a month beginning with a J that makes it fine.

I watched this at a special free screening at Manchester Museum. I was intrigued at the thought of it being made entirely of aerial shots, and also at the prospect of watching a film in a museum because it will make me seem all cultured and what not.

The chairs weren’t very comfortable and the film was too preachy, but the cinematography certainly makes it worth a look if you have a spare hour and a half.

Home, as the poster says, is a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Please don’t confuse it with the new Dreamworks film HOME, as I presume that they are not even slightly similar.

When booking my ticket I knew genuinely nothing about the film other than that all of it was shot using aerial footage. Further research shows that Arthus-Bertrand is quite a prolific aerial Director and that he owns his own helicam company which has produced a number of aerial films. Aerial is the way forward, or so the aerial camera companies and that danged Hollywood would have us believe.

I expected it would be a lot more like Samsara or Baraka (there is no reason for me to have listed two films here. They are pretty much the same film. I just wanted to show you that I know both). However, as is the great shame in many documentaries, it uses voiceover and this really ruins it. Glenn Close provides the voiceover narration, a null factoid really as the script would have made it unenjoyable no matter who was narrating. Tell a lie from the previous paragraph, I did also know that Glenn Close was providing the narration, and I guess her star power ended up getting butts on seats. Once it had fulfilled the purpose of getting butts on seats, though, all her voice did was smack viewers over the head with obvious observations and overdone environmental rhetoric.

It went on.

And on.

Then there were some on screen titles which said facts about the environment that, while I didn’t know to the number, pretty much had a general idea about. Modern life is ruining the environment – tell me something I don’t know.

I’m being quite harsh here, but I am of the opinion that documentaries should show not tell, and give the viewer space to come to their own conclusions. It is worth a watch purely for the cinematography. It has been watched by around 600 million people worldwide, and you can watch it to on the video below. I would recommend muting the sound and playing some Jean-Michel Jarre instead. Or whatever music you fancy. I don’t rule your life.

I’ve also just remembered that when I watched it they initially played the German version, so had to restart the film in English. This is the second time that this has happened to me at a screening event. The first was at a 2009 screening Some Like It Hot in St Augustine’s Abbey. I would highly recommend both Manchester Museum and St Augustine’s Abbey as viewing venues, though be warned that neither is very comfortable (but the wine at St Augustine’s Abbey helps and is generally delightful).

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