It is fairly safe to say that current U.S. President Donald Trump's favorite film will not be Tomorrow, opening in New York and L.A. on April 21st with indie distributor Under the Milky Way after a successful festival run and France's top prize, the Cesar, for Best Documentary Feature.
With Mahatma Gandi's famous quote "You must be the change you wish to see in the world" as its spirit guide, Tomorrow begins from an almost alarmist, yet realistic, position that the way we live ultimately cannot be sustained. However, into this harsh reality Tomorrow plants a wave of hopefulness and belief in the power of humanity to change our course. Tomorrow plants the notion that we must, in some key ways, dramatically change how we live yet then spends a good majority of its just shy of two-hour running time providing a wealth of global examples of just how this is occurring. In large a response to a 2012 "Nature" article in which 20 researchers from around the world predicted that humankind could disappear sometime between 2040 and 2100, Tomorrow takes a profoundly dire prediction and weaves around it with commitment and optimism and hope.
Traveling to 10 countries to visit permaculture farms, urban agriculture projects and community-owned renewable initiatives, the team behind Tomorrow, Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) and actor/activist Cyril Dion, have crafted an enlightening and inspirational film that highlights people making a difference in the fields of food, energy, finance, democracy, and education. The end result is a documentary that is sure to please those lamenting the current direction of U.S. policy that turns away climate care and concern and returns to a harsh, and wholly unnecessary, way of living.
Swedish singer-songwriter Fredrika Stahl's original music beautifully companion's a family that is leisurely in pacing, a refreshing approach from the usual Americanized drive-thru filmmaking that speeds through ideas without ample time to embrace them. Not surprisingly, certain segments of Tomorrow are subtitled given the film's global journey and this approach helps to give the film a universal appeal and a strong sense of "We're all in this together."
The journey that unfolds goes from Detroit's urban farming initiatives to the Transition Movement in southwest England to other U.K. based projects like the Incredible Edible movement and the Bristol Pound over to a French permaculture movement, Finland's unique educational system, the Kitchenware Revolution in Iceland and India's developments in democracy. Along the way, Tomorrow plants seeds of hope in virtually every aspect of our societal life including democracy, education, economy and agriculture.
Already having proven to be wildly popular throughout Europe with a box-office exceeding $10,000,000, a number rare for a feature doc, Tomorrow arrives in the U.S. during a time of tremendous but not insurmountable conflict and, a swell, not long before Al Gore arrives in theaters again with a follow-up to his An Inconvenient Truth.
Indeed, the answers to the problems discussed in Tomorrow arent' easy ones and they aren't presented as such. However, with its global journey and thoughtful yet well intended optimism this film becomes a must see for anyone who, much like Melanie Laurent and Cyril Dion, find themselves concerned about the future but absolutely committed to doing something about it.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic