A reflective look back at the start of the green movement, Robert Stone’s “Earth Days” is timely enough with the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day coming in spring 2010. Stone, who directed “Guerilla: The Taking Of Patty Hearst,” assembles an engaging patchwork, finding the wellspring of countercultural bible “The Whole Earth Catalog” an important artifact, and co-founder Stewart Brand is among the more engaging of the nine voice voices, which include the founder of the first Earth Day, “hippie astronaut” Rusty Schweickart, author Paul Ehrlich (“The Population Bomb”), former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, and former congressman Pete McCloskey. Rachel Carson’s pioneering expose, “Silent Spring” is also key to the enlightenment of the figures on screen. Years later, their idealism is undiminished. The film’s ultimate call to action builds nicely, erasing hints of nostalgia. The sprightly score by Michael Giacchino (“Ratatouille,” “Lost”) is a big plus, especially in scenes built from wonderfully absurd 1950s archival footage, without descending into Philip Glass-style aural wallpaper. 100m. 35mm. (Ray Pride)
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.