As politicians continue wrangling over the Energy Bill going through Parliament today, it’s easy to forget that the climate change debate isn’t about an irrelevant Westminster fight over obscure targets, but about very real changes to our planet that will have a huge impact on the people from all corners of the world live our lives.
Changes are already happening in Niaqornat, an isolated village of 59 people tucked away in the north-west of Greenland. The ice is melting. And as the huge ice sheets that used to cover the sea during winter disappears, traditional hunters can’t reach the bears this community has relied upon for hundreds of generations.
The story of Niaqornat and its people – a story of turbulent change in a place where turbulence is a new phenomenon – is adeptly told in a new film I am proud to say is directed by my daughter, Sarah Gavron.
Village at the End of the World has been selected by Picturehouse as its “Pic Docs Discover Tuesday” documentary of the month for June. It is playing at cinemas across London and the country tonight.
In this moving portrait of a community at crossroads, climate change isn’t the only modern force bearing down on the village. The only source of income – a local fish factory – has been shut down. The government no longer wants to subsidise the supply ship that brings everything from crisps and toilet roll to fuel and medicine. People are leaving due to the lack of work. Ultimately Village At The End Of The World is a film that reflects the dilemmas of most small communities all over the world – this one just happens to be in one of the remotest spots on the planet.
The story is told through a fantastic cast of personalities that really bring Niaqornat to life. There’s Annie, the oldest person in town whose wry humour casts an interesting light on rural Greenlandic life. Karl is the hunt leader and Mayor, a man passionately committed to defending the way of life led by the village since before memory. And then there’s Lars: an engaging and energic young man who spends his time on Facebook and is the only teenager in town who, in a community of hunters, doesn’t want to hunt, Lars personifies the simultaneously incongruous yet surprisingly harmonious interplay of modernisation with the traditional way of life.
For more info and to find the Picturehouse cinema nearest you, click here.