A Plentiful Feast: a film about marine pollution

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Published at : 04 Dec 2020
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This film is a hauntingly tragic visualisation of a planet bereft of any bounty as a consequence of marine pollution. With a rising tide of plastics choking the oceans, fishing communities around the world continue to haul in emptier nets.

“I was struck by an image of a boy who had to fish to provide food for his family,” says A Plentiful Feast director Jodeb (Jonathan Desbiens) of the project’s genesis. “The deeper he went, the more his story morphed from the mundane into the nightmarish and surreal.”

“Paradoxically, to get individuals to engage with a real environmental issue on an emotional level, you have to present it to them as fiction,” Jodeb continues. “Understanding the global scale of humanity’s irresponsibility is difficult to digest as facts or in the news, but when told through the story of a boy who would risk his life to find food for his family, that’s more comprehensible.”

The mesmerizing cinematic quality of this film owes a lot to the authenticity of the project. Filming off the coast of Mahahual in Mexico, Jodeb enlisted a real spear fisherman to play the lead. The local actor had such skill that VFX were not needed for many of the dramatic underwater scenes that showed him diving to shipwrecks and caves 50 feet below the ocean.

“Going to Mahahual and meeting the people who deal with these environmental problems on a daily basis had a powerful effect on me,” Jodeb says. “I have tried to emulate this experience in the film.”

A Plentiful Feast forms part of Survival Season, our special program charting the impact of human exploitation of the earth. Taking inspiration from the four classical elements—earth, air, water, fire—the films profile weather-beaten islands, the desolation of the earth’s natural resources, oceans clogged with plastics, and fires that rage as a consequence of global warming. Each film is a creative response to the harrowing effects of climate change, while reminding audiences that only humanity can be the fulcrum for transformation.

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