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LOOK: The Age of Stupid

The year is 2055, and climate change has wreaked havoc on the Earth and its peoples. One surviving man, an archivist played by...

The year is 2055, and climate change has wreaked havoc on the Earth and its peoples. One surviving man, an archivist played by Pete Postlethwaite, combs through a series of documentary footage from 2008: Iraqi refugee children in search of their lost brother, a wind-farm developer embroiled in a fight against an anti-wind power lobby in England, a young medical student in a poor village in Nigeria who aspires to American-style wealth and mobility. As he sifts through reels of film that juxtapose a widespread addiction to fossil fuels with an interconnected global economy, and as he does so in the environmentally-decimated world of 2055, the archivist pleads into to the camera, with befuddlement, regret, and a broken spirit, demanding to know why his (our) generation didn't do something about climate change when we had the chance.

That's the idea behind The Age of Stupid, a genre-bending, independently financed film directed by Franny Armstrong (McLibel, Drowned Out). "I wanted to make a film on my lifelong obsession, climate change," says Armstrong, who found herself compelled to explore the question of how our generation could stand idly by and do nothing in the face of what we know.Inspired by the structure of Steven Soderbergh's fictional exploration of the drug war, Traffic, an early version of the film followed six loosely connected stories in documentary format around themes of climate change and global development. But Armstrong believed that in order for the film to be an effective catalyst for action, it would need to do more than simply inform; it needed to inspire. Hence the addition of Postlethwaite's archivist, and the harrowing animation of a bleak-but potentially avoidable-future.The Age of Stupid, which features music by Radiohead and Depeche Mode and includes documentary footage filmed in America, the United Kingdom, India, Nigeria, Iraq, Jordan, and The Alps, premieres today in New York City and Canada, and tomorrow in 75 countries around the world. Residents of every other country in the world will be able to watch the film online for free here for the next month. It's no coincidence that the film's release comes just days before the UN General Assembly's session on climate change, as the filmmaker hopes it can catalyze the groundswell necessary to motivate people toward real and sweeping action. From the looks of the trailer, it just might.[youtube]

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