Ecocinema in the Anthropocene Era


The concept of mind-body dualism rests in the various distinctions human thought has made between the conscious mind, represented as spirit, soul and self, and the seemingly mechanistic actions of the human body and the natural physical world in which it inhabits. It represents a movement of cosmological thought away from animist beliefs which regard all entities, including humans, as having approximately equal life-force. In Western culture, the origin of the conflictive relationship between human beings and nature can be found in Plato’s argument that humans possess an immortal soul belonging to the world of ideas. This separation from nature was then promulgated by the Abrahamic notion of a hierarchy of natural kingdoms and ensoulment seen as a gift from God, thus divinely mandating humans to be in a dominant and exterior position to nature. The realization that in the Anthropocene Era human beings can no longer be seen as separate from nature has resulted in increasingly powerful examples of consciousness-raising in Ecocinema. Consequently, this paper will analyze a series of both Western and Chinese environmental documentaries and films that show how the idea of human ownership of nature has been criticized in Ecocinema, how different kinds of ecologically minded films have tried to educate viewers toward an animistic relationship occurring between humans and nature and, finally, how new technologies enable Ecocinema to create immersive experiences that enhance human empathy toward nature and non-human life.

Author Information
James Reid, Akita International University, Japan
Filippo Gilardi, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China

Paper Information
Conference: ECSEE2015
Stream: Cultural Sustainability: Protecting

This paper is part of the ECSEE2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon