“My name is Claude Lorius and I shall be forever 23”.
Ice and the Sky, directed by Luc Jacquet and follows the life of the man who behind that statement on his lifelong journey that encompasses an epic love affair with the Antarctic and a mission to prove that human infringement on nature has detrimental and irreversible effects on the climate. The film opens with Claude Lorius embarking on his first ever mission to the Antarctic when he was just 23 in 1956. Now 82, he recalls his Antarctic adventures. He takes the audience through his discoveries, analysing ice that is buried deep within the Antarctic pole. From this he was able to tell and more importantly, prove that climate change was happening as the effect of man-made activities.
He says sadly, “Man is changing the rules of the game, changing the blueprint of the climate.”
The film’s highlights are for us, the reams and reams of real footage that came from Lorius’ journeys to the Antarctic. From his first meeting with penguins (where his colleagues offer a penguin a cigarette!) to his frustrations at the architect of a data collection tower. As the film progresses, the audience is taken through the same journey that Lorius took. The audience is able then to come to the same conclusion that Lorius made all those years ago. The data does not lie, and the science is clear, man-made climate change is happening.
The proof is in all the ice as we watch Lorius excavate, in the trips he makes at the height of the Cold War, with Russian scientists. They did not go looking for climate change, they went looking for the Story of the Antarctic but that is what they found.
The last 20 minutes of the film show an increasingly despaired man trying to warn the world of the dangers that are to come. The warnings he heads come eerily close to what has been going on at COP21 in Paris recently and he states at a similar conference: – “Words pour forth and treaties accumulate and yet with every passing day the predicted scenario continues to take shape.” It also gives us the sense of urgency in the face of what must be one of human existence’s most imminent dangers. Lorius, is one man who knows better than most of us what it’s like when that sense of urgency is not felt by others around him. One of the most poignant and heartbreaking scenes in the film is when he looks to his beloved Antarctic (which is now melting) and says: –
“I sometimes fight the feeling of having served no purpose.”
This film also lends a more human element to the science behind climate change. Travelling through a man’s lifetime love of the Antarctic, 22 trips taken, approximately 10 years of his life. It draws the audience in from the beginning and we start to feel the same things that Lorius has felt throughout his lifetime. Even though the end of the film feels a bit rushed, we leave also feeling as though we are named Claude Lorius and shall be forever 23. We also leave feeling hopeful that perhaps, by heeding his warnings, the story of ice shall live on.
Ice and The Sky premieres worldwide on 11th December 2015.
This review is by Adrienne Paul-Hus and Shakila Rajendra, students of Msc Global Energy & Climate Policy at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
| Photography by: Eskwad, Sarah Del Ben and Marc Perrey | Website: Ice and The Sky |