It is at once unsurprising and refreshing that, just as President Trump trumpeted his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, announcement came of the upcoming release of a sequel to what arguably is the most celebrated and influential climate change documentary. That film is AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, and it was released in 2006.
This new film is titled AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER. According to a press release, it should be coming to theaters across the country at the end of July and beginning of August. It also is noted that, in AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER, “Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy.” Also, Gore “pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.”
For indeed, when it comes to climate change, the stakes have never been higher-- and the production and release of AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER led me to re-visit the original. The presence in it of the former vice president and year 2000 presidential candidate is as revealing today as eleven years ago. At its core, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH is a filmed version of Al Gore’s multi-media presentation on the phenomenon of global climate change. Throughout the film, Gore clearly, succinctly explains global warming and its potentially disastrous consequences. However, while AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH may be about an issue that is relevant to the future of our planet, it also serves as a celluloid press release for Gore. ;It humanizes him by spotlighting the major events in his life and emphasizing his deep commitment to the issue at hand.
Now in our popular culture, even if you come in second place, you are brushed aside as a “loser.” But in AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, Al Gore is anything but a loser. He is, instead, a caring human being who is wizened and savvy, and is determined to climb mountaintops to spread his message. Near the film’s beginning, Gore humorously introduces himself as the man who “used to be the next president of the United States.” Later on, we see him walking through an airport all by himself, just as you or I might. We see him taking off his coat in order to pass through airport security, just as you or I might. The image here is of Al Gore as an average person, a common man. And the purpose is to link him to the average person, to make him seem as trustworthy as your friendly next-door neighbor.
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH is a film that should be re-seen because it deals intelligently with issues that impact on every human being. But while doing so, it struck me that it surely is meant to place Al Gore back in the public eye, in a way that could not be accomplished via a press conference or speech. At one juncture, Gore points out that global warming is not a political issue, but a moral one. This was true back in 2006 and, like it or not, it remains true in 2017.
Rob Edelman has authored or edited several dozen books on film, television, and baseball. He has taught film history courses at several universities and his writing has appeared in many newspapers, magazines, and journals. His frequent collaborator is his wife, fellow WAMC film commentator Audrey Kupferberg.
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