July 29, 2019  (Web Review)

Anote’s Ark

(2018) 77 min. DVD: $24.95. First Run Features (avail. from most distributors).

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Canadian photographer turned filmmaker Matthieu Rytz’s documentary centers on the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, a sovereign state in Micronesia. In recent years, low-lying areas of the country have been repeatedly flooded by seawater, while an increase in extreme weather events (such as typhoons and hurricanes) have plagued the 100,000-plus population. Many people have seen their homes flood over and over as global warming intensifies. Unlike some world leaders who refuse to acknowledge the link between climate change and deepening calamities such as record-breaking heat, melting glaciers, and warming oceans, Kiribati’s former president, Anote Tong, spent much of his time in office (2003-16) trying to raise awareness and assistance for his country, which might not last another century. Much of this award-winning documentary is devoted to capturing Tong’s efforts, which have met with mixed success on the world stage, while ample footage of the island bedeviled by flooding and high winds gives viewers a horrifying glimpse of what the new normal is there. Anote’s Ark reveals a Pacific Ocean paradise that is slowly being lost, noting that little can be done about it without broad cooperation. Serving up a sobering environmental warning, this is recommended. Aud: C, P. (T. Keogh)