This argument connects several international cinematic shooting locations to ecological states of affairs that reside there in order to imagine how viewing audiences worldwide might better connect to environmental issues through film. Drawing on theories of agency that inform the environmental humanities, I suggest that the material particulars of life in the biosphere have a second-order existence inside the omnipresent, global medium of film and that eco-critique can mobilize viewers to see in entertainment the industrial, conservational, and consumerist dynamics that are always on view if one looks closely enough. Since shooting locations provide resonant inspiration and cine-textual sign materials for cinema’s worlding activities—and since they carry their own environmental histories while functioning as extractive use zones for film production industries—they are ideal material-discursive sites for examining human beings and their intra-active edge effect encounters with ecologies. Aspects of The Revenant (shot in Western Canada), Gomorrah (shot in Italy), Suzhou (shot in China) and Taste of Cherry (shot in Iran) will be imagined here as a kind of eco-tourism the apprehension of which can transform into activism. A case will be made for an increase in citizen-initiated visual production activities (designed to ecologize film texts) that can be distributed online as assemblages of images, sounds, criticism, activism, art, and entertainment. The agentic connection between such activity and a reclaimed futurity arrives in the recognition of cinema’s status as a ready ambassador for eco-political dialogue, a conversation now at the center of this 21st century.
Mario Trono, Mount Royal University, Canada