‘Another world is on her way… on a quiet day I can hear her breathing…’
Arresting and thought provoking, Occupy Love, delves into the pressing issues of planetary-wide environmental degradation within the context of the current economic, political and social climate. It documents the global “Occupy Love” super movement and the personalities which make up its nuanced and highly passionate body of activists.
As one of many offerings in the Transitions Film Festival, a program dedicated to showcasing documentary interrogations of global cultures, both in transition and crises, Occupy Love poses the question “how can we turn the challenges we face into a love story?” The film draws a touching and optimistic metaphor of mankind’s relationship with itself and nature as one of the greatest love stories of our time and, as in the tradition of great love stories, where there is a separation, dislocation or desolation, love has the power to overcome through an overwhelming and intrinsic ability to unite, in this case individuals, communities and a global consciousness.
With hand held camera in tow, filmmaker Velcrow Ripper explores what he terms the ground zeroes of the various bases, from the Egyptian revolution in Tahrir Square, Spain’s Indignado movement, Occupy Wall Street NYC, The Maple Spring in Quebec, where literally waves of activists occupy, unite, campaign (and camp) tirelessly in the face of an all-encompassing, faceless neo-liberalism, enacting its ruthless and unwavering planetary scourge driven by the economic imperatives of greed and profit. Giving the movement’s human element, through biologists, climate activists, writers, Zen teachers, street preachers and children, we learn that the Occupy Love movement is more than just about protest; it’s an activism driven by a genuine desire to engender new economic paradigms, horizontal or lateral power shifts and alternative, distributive currencies, a solution based activism nicely encapsulated by one advocate: “you gotta be for something, as well as against.”
Crucially, these testimonials are juxtaposed with further images of the real environmental battlefields including the dystopic industrial tar sands of Canada, where the viewer is confronted with the utter destruction and havoc wreaked upon these environments by industry. These images, couched neither in armeggedonesque rhetoric nor in need of embellishment, unnerve in their banal and impartial realism and, whether we as viewers remain critical or cynical of the viability of economic alternatives, or lack thereof, proffered by the Occupy movement, the message of the importance of community, compassion and love, for mankind and our environment, remains compelling. Perhaps if more corporations were governed and regulated by these imperatives the envisioning of a sustainable brave new world might not be just a futuristic fiction; or at least elements of it may come into fruition, even in our lifetimes. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, we need to “develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness”; we must – there is no viable alternative.
Love is a verb – Occupy Love.
Reviewed by Jordana Lennox
Venue: Mercury Cinema
Season: 3 November 2013
Photo Credit: Transitions Film Festival website