Last week I had a medical procedure done in my right hand and I took advantage of the spare time to watch some documentaries, one of them was “Albatross”. This documentary had been in my wish list for a while but for some reason I had never managed to watch it, until now.
I know many people are not huge fan of documentaries and I get it, after a busy day sometimes we prefer to be entertained with a fun movie/program than hearing about more issues in the world (which it is usually the case). However, it is through this exposure and knowledge that we can learn something, challenge our beliefs, get out of our comfort zone and in many cases be inspired to take action.
This one in particular is about a very important topic: plastic pollution in our oceans.
A bit about the documentary
Directed by Chris Jordan, this movie was filmed in Midway Atoll, a remote island located in the North Pacific Ocean (equidistant between North America and Asia) where albatrosses gather to breed and raise their chicks away from civilisation.
Photo source: Albatross Film – Chris Jordan
The movie offers a very close and intimate view of the life of these animals in the island. It is amazing to learn about their journey and how they find a partner, the rituals, how they build their nests and endure a lot of challenges to protect their precious eggs, how the chicks start their lives in the island and the proud parents take care of them and feed them with love… And then, how plastic pollution turns this beautiful natural scene into a nightmare for many of these innocent creatures.
This is not a conventional movie full of narratives, it actually offers you the space to experience the images, the sounds, the bird’s beauty and their fate. It is more an opportunity to see through the lenses of the these artists the essence of this amazing specie and how our collective decisions are impacting their lives. Described by Chris Jordan in the film’s website:
“My wish was not only to tell the factual story of the albatrosses from an observational standpoint, but to convey the intensely vivid sensual, emotional, and spiritual experience of being with them on the island. My time with these magnificent beings was an internal experience as much as an external one, infused with often-overwhelming levels of beauty, lyricism, mystery, reverence, grief, and joy” – Chris Jordan
My experience watching it
Albatrosses dying due to plastic pollution was not new to me, I had heard of it from different sources, even in Blue Planet II they included a story about these birds and the challenges they are facing in recent times. However I wanted to learn more.
So I sat there in the living room, glad that I was finally going to watch it, but at the same time a bit anxious because I knew parts of this movie would be probably hard to watch and Gosh, I was right.
I enjoyed most part of the movie, but there were parts that really broke my heart. I sat there alone and I couldn’t hold back my tears, I cried. For some reason it wasn’t anger or frustration what invaded me, but a deep sorrow. I felt extremely sad for these animals.
I am not writing this to scare you or putting you off, on the contrary I think those profound emotions and experiences can actually connect to this cause at a deeper level and ignite massive change.
I am also telling you this because if you are a sensitive soul you can decide in advance how you want to watch the movie. If you don’t want to feel vulnerable around others, just watch it alone or if you need support then bring a good friend or group of friends and watch this movie together.
I think this quote from the movie summarises quite well why we should all face the truth:
“I believe in facing the dark realities of our time, summoning the courage to not turn away, not as an exercise in pain or punishment or to make us feel bad about ourselves but because in this act of witnessing a door way opens” – Albatross film
It’s free for you watch
This year the film team decided to release the movie for free to the world as a “free public artwork” as described in the website. I find that quite amazing, especially considering all the time it took them to make this documentary.
“One thing I can do is to give my eight-year labor of love as a gift to the world, as a gesture of trust in doing the right thing for its own sake.” – Chris Jordan
I personally decided to write this blog post to spread the message about this incredible resource and we can all contribute to this cause one way or another: by sharing this movie with friends and family, hosting a screening in your house or community or donating to the Albratross team so that they can promote the film and bring this important message to more people.
To watch the movie, visit albatrossthefilm. Below a short trailer.
“Albatrosses can’t know what plastic is, their instinct is to trust what the ocean provides as they and their ancestors have done for millions of years.”- Albatross film
Of course learning about the problem is only the beginning, the real power lies on our daily actions, it is up to us. It is time to be part of the solution. How can you help the albatrosses and thousands of other species suffering due to our plastic pollution? Let me know in the comments below. For ideas and tips please check this list of post I have written on how to fight plastic: Greener Identity: Plastic
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