Out of Balance and Slumming

Out of Balance is a reasonably good documentary about global warming, although its strength is specifically exploring the damage that ExxonMobil has done historically (e.g., the Valdez spill) and recently (e.g., memos showing their role in clouding the global warming debate for about 10 years). It’s low budget and a little strident, but not painfully so, and the subject is a vitally important one. I do wish that the film had not used hurricanes so extensively as an example of the outcome of climate change, because from what I have read that connection is not as clear as many others. But the visuals of the destruction are so good I understand it is hard to resist.

The director was at the screening to answer questions afterwards. Here are a few things I wrote down:

  • The DVD is available on the film’s website
  • The director feels like this is a good followup to An Inconvenient Truth
  • The director is touring the country to promote the movie
  • Someone in Washington, D.C. bought a couple of copies of the DVD, and the director didn’t recognize the name, so after some web searching he figured out that the buyer worked forDCI Group, which does lots of work for ExxonMobil
  • An audience member said that the film scared her, but she thinks we need to be scared
  • exxonsecrets.org is a good web site showing all the connections
  • The director spent about 10 months (12/2005-10/2006) full-time on the film
  • The majority of people now know this is real and serious, finally
  • The director is not sure if he should be hopeful or not
  • Government can rally people, and hopefully the next administration will try

The short shown before the film (The Sparky Book) was simple and manipulative, but affecting. Dogs are good.

My other movie this day was an Austrian film called Slumming. Sebastian and Alex, two of the main characters in the film, would be yuppie Austrian scum, but they aren’t professional (which is part of the definition of the word yuppie). Sebastian has enough money for a fancy BMW, but they do “nothing.” They spend their time amusing themselves by taking covert pantie photographs of women they meet online, and making up life stories of people they see, loud enough that their subjects can hear their insensitive comments. They use the term “slumming” to mean rich people like them spending time in bars and other establishments in much poorer parts of town (Vienna), and they are just as condescending as you might imagine from that description. Their lives intersect with Pia, a school teacher, andKallman, a loud alcoholic homeless poet.

I thought that the film was done very well, with good performances and an engaging visual style. You don’t really like any of the characters, but you can empathize with all of them to varying degrees. I was very glad that I picked it at the last minute to fill a hole in my schedule.

I’ll give Out of Balance and Slumming both 3 stars out of 4 stars, for very different reasons. Slumming is very close to 3.5 stars.

Seen 3/7/2007 at Cinequest.

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One Response to “Out of Balance and Slumming”

  1. Away from Her « Random Musings About Movies and More Says:

    […] the voice of the goldfish in The Sparky Book, a nice little short that I saw at Cinequest before Out of Balance). The confusion of Fiona’s descent into Alzheimer’s is mirrored in the time shifts of […]

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