Waking the Green Tiger
By declaring that nature must be conquered in the name of progress, Chairman Mao ushered in an era of environmental degradation for China. As glimpsed in archival footage (some of it seen outside China for the first time), citizens were mobilized to raze forests and slaughter animals. These rash actions laid waste to ecosystems and triggered a famine that killed tens-of-millions. Now, a new generation of environmentalists composed of activists, journalists, filmmakers and former politicians strives to preserve their natural wonders, educate their compatriots and encourage public debate. Gary Marcuse's stirring documentary celebrates the leaders of China's new revolution as they take aim at a hydroelectric dam project.
A product of the VIFF Film & TV Forum's Storyville Vancouver program, this call-to-arms' refreshing air of optimism distinguishes it from the majority of environmental documentaries. While never once diminishing the threats posed by massive dams, it focuses on the sense of purpose and deep-seated passion such contentious undertakings instill in their opponents. As one rural villager proclaims, "When our homes are about to be destroyed, we have nothing to fear." Newly emboldened, these once-marginalized citizens become part of a "green hurricane" that's sweeping through China. We'd all do well to be swept up in their thrall.