Monday, October 24, 2016

Planet in Focus Film Review - The Anthropologist

Anthropology is the scientific study of the behaviour and the physical, social and cultural development of humans. The previous of the profession go out into the field to study societies learn about cultures and societal developments. Directors Seth Kramer, Daniel A Miller and Jeremy Newberger present a piece that is a dual mother daughter story. Susie Create and her daughter Katie travel to three distant locations to learn about the local cultures that are being effected by climate change. Mary Catherine Bateson speaks of her mother Margaret Mead who began her exploration in Samoa in the South Pacific in 1925 then onto New Guinea in 1932.

Susie and Katie start off with a place that they know well Siberia. Susie met Katie's dad there and they travel back each summer to meet with relatives. On this trip the land is in a crisis setting. The ice is melting due to climate change causing the permafrost to melt turning grasslands into marshes or to a state of fully water bound. The trip shows imagines of cows sinking into the water below and stories from the locals of areas where there were structures that are now lakes.

In between trips Susie and Katie return to Fairfax Virginia where her friends think that her mom is a hippy and Katie is determined not to follow in her mothers footsteps. The next trip is to Kiribati in the South Pacific a set of islands that are slowly being covered by the raising water levels. The pair land, meet with the officials then get to work meeting and talking to the locals. Susie pays special attention to the reaction of the inhabitants. Do they have a plan to leave? Do they have a plan of attack? Or as Mary Catherine Bateson comments based on her experience do the locals resign to the fate of her cultural and civilization and choose to mourn their loss.

The directors tell the story of two daughters relationship with their mothers who took them around the world in pursuit investigation into human culture and behaviour. The difference in the daughters is an interesting part. Bateson is in her sixties and turned into an Anthropologist herself. Katie grows from 14 to 18 during the filming becoming more like her mother dispite her protests headed to university to study International studies and history.

The Anthropologist is a study in climate change that goes to the source to show the direct effect on communities of the changes to the earth. As Susie Create describes after the dignitaries are met then you go to the people to do real research. The investigation is not theory but based on conversation with the elders in a community who can comment on the culture and their land a generation back when they were kids. The narrative is an important commentary on the state of the planet that leaves it up to the viewer to decide what steps they can take to get involved.

*** 1/2 Out of 4.

The Anthropologist | Seth Kramer / Daniel A. Miller / Jeremy Newberger | USA / Kiribati / Peru / Russia | 2016 | 78 Minutes.

Tags: Protest, Permafrost, Saha , Siberia, Fairfax Virginia, Margaret Meade, Kiribati, Samoa, New Guinea, Peru.

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