EARTH / Nikolaus Geyrhalter
film premiere / January 2020

EARTH, poster, detail / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Anthology Film Archives continues its longstanding commitment to showcasing the work of Austrian documentary filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter with this premiere engagement of his most recent film, EARTH. A film that is eminently timely, while avoiding the familiar rhetorical devices and uninspired formal qualities of more run-of-the-mill “social issues” docs, EARTH casts its glance widely (from California and Alberta to Austria, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and Germany) to depict the myriad of ways that human beings across the globe transform their natural environments.

 

EARTH, still / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

EARTH, still / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

EARTH, still / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans – with shovels, excavators, and dynamite. Geyrhalter documents these massive and sometimes mind-boggling feats of engineering and manpower, with his usual visual flair and mastery of composition – but in a welcome departure from some of his more stylistically circumscribed works, here he loosens his approach somewhat in order to interview the workers involved in these undertakings, probing their thoughts about their work and its impact on the environment, landscapes, and economies.

 

EARTH, still / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

EARTH, still / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

EARTH, still / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Geyrhalter strikes a perfect balance between the overwhelmingly large scale of the projects themselves and the lives of the individuals helping to realize them, and between awe at the magnitude of their efforts and alarm at the ecological damage being inflicted. Geyrhalter has made a film that zeroes in on the macro and micro factors that influence humanity’s fraught struggle with and against the planet.

 

EARTH, still / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

EARTH, still / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

EARTH, still / Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter

“The film starts with the statistic that humans move 156 million tons of rock and soil a day, making our species ‘the most decisive geological factor of our time.’ Geyrhalter supports this with eerie and scalp-tinglingly vast landscape shots that are now a feature of his work: images of Kubrickian strangeness, like pictures from another planet, some distant, grim, mineral-rich moon that we are callously exploiting because we don’t care about it.” –Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

 

EARTH
Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Austria, 2019, 115 min, DCP / Distributed by KimStim
Various engagements / Anthology Film Archives
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