Dear Future Children – Film Review
by Hugh Maguire
Director – Franz Böhm
Not everyone warms to Greta Thunberg – her ‘blah blah blah’ side-line interventions at the Glasgow Climate summit may have antagonised as many as actually agreed with her. But there is no denying her impact, her youth, and the realisation that the causes facing the world, climate change, political uncertainty, the collapse of democratic rights, environmental and social disaster, will not be tackled by those in positions of power authority. Change is inevitable and the torch bearers of the struggle for change will be the younger generations and those generations to come. There is little to be gained by saying they have everything – phones, internet, things we never had and our parents never heard off. Fresh eyes see things differently and there is much to be changed. This well-crafted and insightful documentary proclaims its agenda clearly in the title. It is for the children of the future that change is needed. It is the story of a cultural and generational shift taking place. There is a new wave of activism.
Throughout the work, we follow three apparently unrelated tales, from Chile, Hong Kong and Uganda. Separated by geography and culture they are more related than we think. Three young women, the subject of each piece, are leading campaigns against inequality and injustice that creates chasm-like socio-economical imbalance, political injustice, and environmental catastrophe. Rayen literally takes us on to the streets in Chile and the riots in which some 400 people lost an eye due to the policing tactics employed. Similarly in Hong Kong, with Pepper (now in hiding) we not only see the footage from the camera during the huge-scale street protests but this is spliced with phone video footage which gives an added immediacy, especially to the scenes of overly aggressive policing response to unarmed peaceful protesters. In Uganda, the calmly inspirational Hilda highlights the devastation to her environment which has huge socioeconomic consequences. She struggles against the apathy of her peers and locals who seem oblivious to the thousands of plastic bottles in their midst, as well as the bigotry of her university professors who see global warming as the ‘will of God.’ All three, without hectoring, highlight the justice of their causes. They show how change will come even when the process may be uphill and arduous. They also highlight the complacency of those in power – those who do not care about rights in Hong Kong, the well-to-do in Chile who seem oblivious to those in their midst, the selfishness of an economic system that is oblivious to the environmental cost of our practices on less well-off societies.
It is all disturbing and bleak but not without hope. The film has been made by young people about young people. It burns with a passion and a sincerity worthy of its subjects and causes. It is inspirational!