Change Or Die

The battle against climate change starts in your psyche

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Metamorphosis
Studio 7
Opens July 13

Environmental documentaries are a tough sell. Our planet is collapsing in so many areas it’s hard for a single film to cover the crises. On top of that, given that the news is immensely bad there’s an inherent doom-and-gloom sentiment that’s not particularly appealing.

The plucky NFB-backed doc Metamorphosis doesn’t quite clear the hurdles but it stays more focused than most of its kind. Filmmakers Velcrow Ripper (ScaredSacred) and Nova Ami pick a metaphor and stick to it: the resilient monarch butterfly as a hopeful stand-in for mankind.

Like monarch larvae, humanity faces an inevitable metamorphosis. Climate change is putting people from around the world in critical situations, from Venice’s population dwindling due to high tides, to California dealing water scarcity and wildfires, to Vanuatu getting decimated by a hurricane. A transformation is coming, and it’s up to us to decide into what. Metamorphosis suggests that climate change plays in our minds as grief over the planet’s mortality, often leading to denial. To overcome it, a psychological adjustment may be in order.

While the documentary hits some perfunctory notes (like the unavoidable hopeful ending), Metamorphosis remains grounded by linking factoids to human testimonies. The images of the planet in distress are stunning. Overall, it’s a worthy effort that stops short of being preachy. It could’ve used a bit more flavour, though.