Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Antediluvian: Part I

The word antediluvian has come to generally mean "something very old," but literally means "before the flood" -- more precisely, before the flood we traditionally refer to as "Noah's Flood." While some have attached this flood to a prehistoric time when the entire earth was actually covered with water, others have theorized that this particular flood was a large, local event, most likely occurring in what is now southern Iraq. (Ironic, don't you think?) Regardless, it's clear that the event was meaningful enough for ancient men and women who experienced it, to actually mark time with it. (Things either happened before this flood, or after it.) And thus, the creation of the word antediluvian. With current warnings of melting polar ice caps, one might wonder if we, and our children's generation, might one day be referred to -- by future generations -- as "antediluvian." Cinema, both documentary and fictional have been addressing this possibility from different angles with increasing urgency. The new film An Inconvenient Truth -- directed by Davis Guggenheim, and starring former U.S. Vice President Al Gore -- warns of the effects of global warming, and melting glaciers. Likewise -- as previously mentioned here at "Movies on My Mind" -- Stonyfield Yogurt recently commissioned Climate: A Crisis Averted, a short "mockumentary" which illustrates the likely devastating effects of global warming, within a generation -- and has encouraged that the film be spread via the Internet and by email. On the fictional side, the boxoffice flop of a few years ago, Waterworld, imagined an earth consumed by water. And two years ago, director Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow (a thematic reworking of his own earlier film The Noah's Ark Principle) also dramatized a "worst case scenario" for melting polar ice, which resulted in massive flooding and a new Ice Age on the planet. "It is now clear that we face a deepening global climate crisis that requires us to act boldly, quickly, and wisely," says Gore -- and he has finally put his life-long campaign to protect the environment on film, to better spread the word. I agree. See this movie. Then, let's act.

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