Linda Cook review: ‘Anthropocene’ documentary looks at world devastated by humans

Local News

What have we done to ourselves?

The documentary “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch” answers that in a disturbing way.

Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”) narrates this documentary that gives us a look at how humankind – maybe “human unkind” – has made a ghastly impact on the earth itself along with its fragile ecosystems.

First, about that title. “Cene” is from a Greek word that means “new.” So when we consider epochs – different times in the history of the world – the Pleistocene, for example, is sometimes referred to as the Ice Age.

 “Anthropocene” means the current geological age. It’s a period when human activity has been the major force on climate and the environment.

This is a third part of a documentary trilogy, including the 2006 “Manufactured Landscapes” and the 2013 “Watermark.” It follows a group of scientists known as the Anthropocene Working Group.

In this film, you’ll learn about concrete seawalls in China that cover about 60 percent of the mainland coast, along with the potash mines in the Ural Mountains in Russia, along with the devastation of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The movie, with incredible cinematography, takes the viewer all over the world to give the viewer shocking sequences such as piles of flaming ivory from thousands of elephants and how workers quarry white marble. The sequences of devastation have a strange, horrific beauty.

Anyone who has even a passing interest in the environment should see this film. It’s unsettling to see what humans have done to the world they inhabit, and it’s a stark reminder how finite our world really is.

The QC Environmental Film Series is presented by the Joyce and Tony Singh Family Foundation, the Sierra Club Eagle View Group, River Action and Nahant Marsh.

Admission: $5

Running time: One hour and 27 minutes.


When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at the Blue Grass Drive-In, 774 W. Mayne St., Blue Grass.

Information: Call 563-322-2969 or visit

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