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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Edge of Existence

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August 27, 2010

Movie Review Friday: Edge of Existence

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that's currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Edge of Existence: Exploring Communities on the Edge of Civilization (2009)

Available on DVD

This journey stretches across the globe, its varying ecosystems, and four timeless cultures that are deeply rooted in - and appreciative of - nature. Edge of Existence, a four-part miniseries, transports viewers to another reality - and they go willingly, accompanied by Irish journalist Donal MacIntyre, who travels to "edge" civilizations - places so far removed from modern life they seem part of a different world.

MacIntyre sails for weeks with the nomadic sea gypsies of Borneo and searches for scraps of firewood across Oman's endless desert dunes, all in the name of documenting the lives of isolated peoples via observation and participation. In Papua New Guinea, he joins rainforest tribesmen on a crocodile hunt, which includes swimming in waters teeming with the reptiles. But perhaps the most intriguing adventure he embarks on is a dangerous ritual fight with male Quechuan Indians in Bolivia; he's forced to participate in a traditional brawl that often leaves people dead.

This fascinating but sometimes unsettling depiction of the planet's distinct cultures does an excellent job of documenting remote peoples, but also the environments that sustain them. Footage shows their homelands' extreme natural beauty, including sweeping shots of deserts and salt fields, impeccable closeups of plants and animals, and gorgeous underwater sequences in coral-laden seas. All this ensures that viewers remain fascinated until the very last frame.

--Sarah A. Henderson

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