If I was to choose one single reason for moving to Bergen, would not the rain, the mountains, the fjords nor the people have made it. I would only utter one word: BIFF. Bergen International Film Festival makes Bergen, Norway and perhaps even the world bigger, cooler and more important. Or to cite the Bergens Tidende newspaper commentator Frøy Gudbrandsen who wrote about this year’s festival: BIFF cures Norwegian short sightedness.

Ever since I skipped economics, linear algebra and anthropology lectures to watch films in the mid-2000s, I dreamt about returning to BIFF. Now I am finally back.

The festival has just become even more interesting. This year, a separate climate festival formed part of the programme. Among the offerings was the French Tomorrow (read the review on «Concrete measures to save tomorrow» in Modern Times), a lightweight, artistic and life-affirming film attempting to focus on solutions rather than concentrate on the catastrophes of the climate debate.

Grey and important. Canadian Spaceship Earth falls into the more traditional climate segment. The film is informative, gloomy and talks at length about the problems. When the Bergen city climate councillor Julie Andersland (V) opened the BIFF climate festival, she stated that she found it odd that we still needed such a festival – as it is easy to believe that most people already know very well what the climate crisis will lead to. Despite this, it becomes quickly evident that many people still need enlightment.


Spaceship Earth by Canadian Kevin McMahon is a film which specifically serves the enlightenment purpose: It is a film you want to show the climate-sceptical uncles you encounter at a family dinner. But, at its base it is simultaneously very beautiful and poetic: the sentiments of ecologically-minded US architect, social critic and futurist Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) that we are all astronauts on board «spaceship Earth» travelling through the dark space armed with our limited resources. The film takes a useful historical sweep over when it started to go so very wrong with humankind’s use of resources. How oil, since the consumption started in the 1860s, has helped drive modernity, but has simultaneously helped push the planet off the cliff.

These are gloomy developmental traits which are being described again, and which are probably helpful as an educational tool, but compared with the catchy Tomorrow, Spaceship Earth comes across as rather rigid. It is drabber and less playful – the contents are at the fore.


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