It’s unavoidable that the even-handed but alarming eco-documentary The 11th Hour will be compared to the Al Gore Oscar-winning global warming shocker An Inconvenient Truth, but climate change is only one of the topics the film addresses. In fact, The 11th Hour has much more in common with Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi, the narration-free film that combines stunning cinematography and Philip Glass to paint a picture of “life out of balance,” the translation of its Hopi title.
“Life out of balance” would have made a good subtitle for the first feature-length documentary by sisters Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners. With the help of producer and narrator Leonardo DiCaprio, they restate the point Koyaanisqatsi makes wordlessly — only in much more urgent terms and with the science to back it up. Among recent documentaries questioning the status quo (The Corporation, When the Levees Broke, Why We Fight, An Inconvenient Truth, Sicko), The 11th Hour takes the most far-reaching point of view and connects issues into larger patterns, culminating in a truly global call for change.
The 11th Hour. Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen, 2007. ****