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Review: A Fierce Green Fire

Saturday 16 June 2012
Words Spindle

Sheffield Doc/Fest is the most exciting and vibrant festival in the UK for documentary and digital media, running June 13th to 17th 2012. Over the next few days, I will be recommending my personal highlights from the vast and varied film programme.

A Fierce Green Fire (2012), directed by Mark Kitchell.

It is sadly too often the case that eco-docs beat the viewer about the head with their agendas. The barrage of information can be overwhelming, leave little room for interpretation, and ultimately be detrimental to the cause.

A Fierce Green Fire, however, is different. Charting the evolution of environmentalism and conservationism, the film explores such issues as the damning of the Grand Canyon, deforestation in the Amazon and chemical waste dumping. Each section demonstrates the incredible human spirit behind seemingly impossible successes in the face of multinational corporations and governments.

Granted, it’s not perfect. For one, the voice-over could do with a revamp, in order to provide narrative guidance through what is often simply a series of photographic stills and archival footage. Further, the vignetted stories often seem incomplete, and leave the viewer longing for more. But this is a positive too – it encourages thought and further research, something which few eco-docs do. For this is not a film with a cause. Rather, it is a film about causes, and the importance of not relinquishing them. By providing brief but vital insights into the plight of our planet, A Fierce Green Fire is the perfect stepping-off point for anyone concerned about or interested in the environment.

Words: Jack Casey