Tuesday 7 June 2022

In the Nick of Time: On Cli-Fi and Ecocinema Film and Moving Image Studies

Well, it's been a while... Something or other must have happened in the meantime... ūü§Ē

Film Studies For Free is nonetheless very happy to be back, still fighting the good fight for high-quality, openly-accessible, film and moving image studies resources. 

With no further ado, FSFF is thrilled to bring its readers and audio-viewers a brilliant new video essay (embedded above) entitled “Climate Fictions, Dystopias, and Human Futures” by Julia Leyda and Kathleen Loock. Thanks so much to them for sharing with us their wonderful study of the evolution of climate fiction cinema, with its powerful videographic plea for greater diversity and complexity in the Cli-Fi audiovisual imaginary.

Below the informative text about their video that they have supplied (scroll down), FSFF has curated a list of links to further great and openly accessible film and moving image studies research and resources on these essential topics, some of which are drawn from Susanne Leikam and Julia Leyda's marvellous 2017 critical bibliography 'Cli-Fi in American Studies: A Research Bibliography', published in American Studies Journal (DOI 10.18422/62-08).

Don’t Look Up (2021), a comedy about a comet on a collision course with Earth, is one of Netflix’s most-watched English-language films of all time. It sparked discussions around climate change and created a climate action platform that outlines what individuals can do against climate change. Netflix has also launched its Sustainability Collection in April 2022, with more than 170 films and series aimed at raising environmental awareness. “Entertain to Sustain” is the slogan behind the production and curation of this content and it goes hand in hand with Netflix’s Net Zero + Nature plan. But the question of what can be done, and what a movie or television series can achieve, has also led to criticism of Netflix’s greenwashing, emphasizing individual action and piecemeal corporate PR-heavy policies over politics. In our video essay “Climate Fictions, Dystopias, and Human Futures,” we take Don’t Look Up as a starting point to look back at the evolution of the concept of “cli-fi” (climate fiction) over more than a decade, reflect on shifting storytelling strategies of cli-fi films past, present, and future, and probe their possible impact -- from precursors such as Planet of the Apes (1968) and Soylent Green (1973) to the “classic” The Day after Tomorrow (2004) to recent variations on the cli-fi formula that break out of the white patriarchal mode like Fast Color (2018) and that incorporate lighter affects like Downsizing (2017). If cli-fi has a role to play in helping contemporary audiences imagine possible futures, part of its task will be to employ more diverse stories, characters, and settings. [JL and KL]

The below list will be updated when further good links surface, or come to mind. So, do please let FSFF know if you have any resources to add! Thank you!


Tom Cohen, ed. Telemorphosis: Theory in the Era of Climate Change. Vol. 1. Ann Arbor, MI: Open Humanities Press, 2012

Sara L. Crosby, Andrew Hageman, Shannon Davies Mancus, Daniel Platt, and Alison Sperling,  Annihilation: A Roundtable Review. Gothic Nature. 1, 2019 PDF

Sean Cubitt, 'Ecocritique as Transnational Commons'. Transnational Screens, 10(1), pp. 1-11, 2019. PDF

No comments: