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Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

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Canada · 2018
1h 27m
Director Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky, Nicholas de Pencier
Starring Alicia Vikander
Genre Documentary

In this cinematic documentary, filmmakers travel to six continents and 20 countries to chronicle the many ways humans have massively reengineered the Earth, from concrete seawalls in China to metal festivals in Russia. A critical moment in our geological history made both accessible and artful.

Stream Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

What are people saying?

Ricardo Rico Profile picture for Ricardo Rico

This film takes an interesting approach to bringing awareness to environmental and ecological issues. Information is limited, and film generally just allows the images and scenery to speak for themselves most of the time, and for many scene this works well enough, with many of the visual in this film being genuinely impressive and awe-inspiring.

What are critics saying?


The New York Times by Ben Kenigsberg

As a work of cinema, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch can seem a bit torn in its approach, caught between a desire to spread a message to mainstream viewers and more cryptic, artistic aims. At times, more information would be preferable; in other scenes, images speak volumes without words. But as advocacy, the movie is potent and frequently terrifying.


The Hollywood Reporter by Boyd van Hoeij

De Pencier’s cinematography has a good eye for the beauty and horror of man-made or -altered landscapes, and it is hard to deny that the film benefits from being seen on as large a screen as possible, as impressive crane or drone shots fill the screen. But like with Burtynsky’s photographs, it is also hard to deny that the beauty of these shots stands in stark contrast to their purported message.


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Kate Taylor

Both shocking and beautiful, the film impresses itself on the viewer with the awesome scale of the imagery – and with the urgency behind it. We have entered an epoch in which human activity is shaping the planet more than any natural force. Anthropocene bears witness that something’s got to give.


Los Angeles Times by Robert Abele

The film isn’t the most cohesive look at startling global transformation. It’s strongest, however, as a dizzying, dimensional tour of scale and time, forcing us to wonder how a sense of earth-centric balance can be restored.


Movie Nation by Roger Moore

Yes, we’ve filled the atmosphere with levels of carbon dioxide not seen in 66 million years of geologic time. But at least we get our own “epoch,” the Anthropocene, named after us. And there’s a smidgen of cautious hope underscoring much of what we see here.

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