Planet of the Humans is an environmental documentary film directed, written, and produced by Jeff Gibbs. Fellow documentary filmmaker, veteran director, Michael Moore became executive producer. Nothing could be perfect, releasing Planet of the Humans on International Earth Day (April 22), at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic globally engulfs humanity. You can watch this movie for free on the Youtube channel where the link is at the bottom of this article. I can only say, watching Planet of the Humans was one of the most emotional and touching experiences I have ever experienced.

Fossil energy (oil and coal) is the primary energy source on this earth. Bioenergy and biomass which are now actively produced as alternatives to fossil energy, have been carried out since several decades ago. The film further explores more in-depth about the use of this renewable energy, which is sheltered behind the words “green energy” and the symbiosis of the giant corporations behind it.

Previously, we discussed the film style, which is not far from Michael Moore’s style, both theme and aesthetic. The director himself, Jeff Gibbs, is the narrator who also actively interacts with dozens of sources throughout the film. The plot is more narrow and has a simple structure, complete with solid facts. Filmmakers effectively lead the audience through the facts on the ground with an indisputable argument. Dozens of sources were chosen carefully, both pros and cons to obtain a balanced discussion.

Also, like Moore, graphic visualization and montage, presented very dynamically as presented nicely in the segment of How Solar Cells and Wind Turbines are Made. The opening shot taken from a satellite showing the beauty of the earth from space began the film perfectly. Despite the facts below, it’s not as beautiful as it looks. News footage or recording has many essential roles in explaining the facts and arguments throughout the film. Ending footage is so terrible, it will make the audience “shudder”, especially those of us who live in Indonesia because the incident was taken here. Sad but true.

There is no doubt. This film will enlighten us about many things about alternative energy or green energy. Alternative energy, for example, solar systems and wind turbines, turned out not to be as green as we imagined. Even worse than we thought. The filmmaker can direct the audience effectively, where he will bring the story.

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In a solar celebration party in Vermont, using 100% solar energy to carry out festival activities. The filmmaker found the generator as backup power when the rain came. In a promotion of the “green” car produced by General Motor, the filmmaker with a simple question made representatives of GM stutter, “Where does the electricity to charge the car (electric) come from?” This question is the core of the big issue from the Planet of the Humans. “We cannot replace something terrible with something terrible too,” said one source. All, ultimately leading to a giant coordinating that is interrelated with one another that protects current capacity behind the words “green energy”, and is responsible for global environmental damage. No exception also, from our beloved country, as exposed in the film. Sad but true.

Planet of the Humans is one of the most critical environmental documentaries in the modern era that questions everything about alternative energy and the giant corporation behind it. It most importantly is able to make us reflect on life and existence as human beings on this earth. “I am afraid, and this (environmental damage) cannot make me sleep soundly,” answered one environmental observer when asked by the filmmaker, what questions (about the environment) that were never asked to him.

Yes, like the statement in the film, our earth has now passed its carrying capacity. In the past century, environmental damage has been in the most critical situation throughout the life of our planet. Citing a statement from my previous writings inspired by a disaster film. “Nature is always looking for balance. All we have to do is choose, we as human beings who balance nature, or nature that will balance us (in the most brutal way)”. Is the COVID-19 pandemic a form of response from nature to the actions of humanity? I do not know. Could be, this is only the beginning. The final quote of the film from half a century ago explains everything.

“Humankind is challenged, as it has never been challenged before, to prove its maturity and its mastery – not of nature, but from itself”.

Enjoy the film!

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Hobinya menonton film sejak kecil dan mendalami teori dan sejarah film secara otodidak setelah lulus dari studi arsitektur. Ia mulai menulis artikel dan mengulas film sejak tahun 2006. Karena pengalamannya, penulis ditarik menjadi staf pengajar di Akademi Televisi dan Film swasta di Yogyakarta untuk mengajar Sejarah Film, Pengantar Seni Film, dan Teori Film sejak tahun 2003 hingga tahun 2019. Buku film debutnya adalah Memahami Film (2008) yang memilah seni film sebagai naratif dan sinematik. Buku edisi kedua Memahami Film terbit pada tahun 2018. Buku ini menjadi referensi favorit bagi para akademisi film dan komunikasi di seluruh Indonesia. Ia juga terlibat dalam penulisan Buku Kompilasi Buletin Film Montase Vol. 1-3 serta 30 Film Indonesia Terlaris 2012-2018. Ia juga menulis Buku Film Horor: Dari Caligari ke Hereditary (2023) serta Film Horor Indonesia: Bangkit Dari Kubur (2023). Hingga kini, ia masih menulis ulasan film-film terbaru di dan terlibat dalam semua produksi film di Komunitas Film Montase. Film- film pendek arahannya banyak mendapat apresiasi tinggi di banyak festival, baik lokal maupun internasional. Baru lalu, tulisannya masuk dalam shortlist (15 besar) Kritik Film Terbaik dalam Festival Film Indonesia 2022. Sejak tahun 2022 hingga kini, ia juga menjadi pengajar praktisi untuk Mata Kuliah Kritik Film dan Teori Film di Institut Seni Indonesia Yogyakarta dalam Program Praktisi Mandiri.


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