CFI launches the 2018 edition of DocLands with the California premiere of Montreal-based photographer/ethnologist Matthieu Rytz’s exquisitely shot feature debut that chronicles a real-time climate change story. Most often a hard-to-grasp scientific abstraction that seems little evident in day-to-day life, climate change could hardly be more heartbreakingly immediate for the residents of Kiribati, a nation in the central Pacific Ocean. The engaging residents in Rytz’s film guide us through their predicament: Kiribati’s 33 atolls sprawl over an expanse as wide as the U.S., yet barely rise above sea level—and that level is rising. As global warming generated by industrialized countries swallows Kiribati whole, this small, isolated culture is being destroyed. Lovely and mournful, Anote’s Ark chronicles the peculiarities of a population whose all-too-imminent future will be strictly as refugees, their homeland only accessible to divers. Will the Herculean efforts of former president Anote Tong stop this catastrophe? Or will it simply warn the world of the lessons that Kiribati’s fate makes so very clear?
Anote’s Ark had its world premiere at Sundance 2018.