Inspirational, moving and informative are three words I would use to describe How To Start A Revolution. This documentary film won a BAFTA and is a part of the Climate Crisis Hub’s Film Festival, which focuses on a series of themes that all relate to the climate crisis we are currently facing. The theme that How To Start A Revolution falls into is Civil Disobedience, and there was another short documentary under this theme titled “Melting Point” which focused on eco-anxiety.
How To Start A Revolution, directed by Ruaridh Arrow, was inspired by Gene Sharp’s book, From Dictatorship to Democracy and throughout the film, Gene Sharp, who was a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, was interviewed about his experiences of civil disobedience, whilst giving the audience his best tips for starting a revolution. Whilst there was little information on climate change itself, it’s clear that the point of this documentary was to inspire a generation to create a revolution to reverse the effects of the current climate crisis.
Throughout the documentary, in between Sharp’s interviews, scenes of protests and civil disobedience were shown to the audience, which felt both uplifting and hopeful for the future. In addition to Sharp, the documentary also interviewed refugee Jamila Raqib and Colonel Robert Helvey, leader of Otpor! Students Group Serbia. Whilst there isn’t much attention paid to cinematography, the film does set the scene by showing shots of different locations that the speakers mention throughout their interviews. Also, the footage of large protests across Korea and China really gives you the feeling that you are there protesting with the crowds.
It’s clear that the point of this documentary was to inspire a generation to create a revolution to reverse the effects of the current climate crisis
Sharp’s philosophy is based on non-violent revolutions, and throughout the film he gives us snippets of information from his book, which contains 198 methods of nonviolent action. Every so often, writing will appear on a black screen which is a way of providing the viewer with information and dividing up the interviews. This is an effective way of breaking up the interview scenes and providing the audience with extra information.
Although some parts of the film tended to move quite slowly and there wasn’t much variety in what was being shown on the screen, overall it was an informative and inspiring documentary that highlights the importance of non-violent civil disobedience, and the impact it can have. Also, this film was made in 2011, which means it wasn’t specifically made for this film festival and therefore didn’t have any content on climate change. It did give the audience a sense of hope though, for what can be achieved simply by protesting peacefully and lobbying the government to change. The footage of large protests across Korea and China really gives you the feeling that you are there protesting with the crowds
Overall, this documentary film provided an insight into the work of Gene Sharp, and the huge social changes that can be achieved through civil disobedience. Whilst, some parts were slow moving, the running time is only 1 hour and 22 minutes, so it doesn’t feel like it drags on for too long. Both educational and inspiring, this film is definitely worth a watch if you’re in the mood to create some social change.
In-article images courtesy of @climatecrisishub via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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