Down to Earth
Environmental issues are becoming a more and more prevalent topic of discussion in the present day, with scientific research into the effects of global warming and man-made destruction widely concluding that unless earth changes its ways, we are blindly sailing towards our own inevitable demise. What is often forgotten, however, is how vast the world really is. A multitude of cultures living on the same soil, under the same sun, yet treating the planet in very dissimilar ways. It is these cultural variations that Rolf Winters and Renata Heinen try to expose and appreciate in their new documentary Down to Earth, a piece made to educate and bring something new to the preservationist table. The question is, does it do that, or does it simply fall into the same environmentalist propaganda category as so many of its forebears?
The feature follows the adventures of the filmmakers and their three children as they travel the world in search of the great Earth Keepers. Determined to keep the picture focused on the quest for ethos enlightenment and not their voyage as a family, the directors interview a dozen individuals, all keeping their profile under the world’s radar and living free-spirited lives away from the restraint of modern society’s laws. The purpose: to offer a sharp insightful glance at a relatively unseen realm, in the hopes of achieving a harsh reality check regarding the future of our home.
At its barest foundation, Down to Earth is a visually enriching experience, with Winters’s cinematography proving insightful and brilliantly expressive when it comes to portraying the vast array cultures on show. With wondrous views from far corners of the world, the filming of this documentary certainly helps build a sense of purpose and significance in a piece that at its premise lacks any real direction or narrative. Interviews with tribal leaders and Earth Keepers are informative yet prolonged, with a series of monologues expressing personal opinions making dialogue feel more like a lecture rather than a conversation. The discourse and picture as a whole are certainly profound, but present very little in regards to something new and exciting.
The documentary’s tagline is “This film is not to be consumed, it’s to be worked with!” and yet a slightly heavier consumable product may go down a little easier with audiences. The adventures of the family and evolution of the children’s perspective of the world would arguably be a more engaging viewing than a restating of more common rhetoric.
Down to Earth is released nationwide on 14th September 2018.
Watch the trailer for Down to Earth here: