Mark your calendars now! Tales From Planet Earth returns to Madison for a fourth time November 1-3, 2013, reverting to our regular autumnal calendar. Our theme is "Futures," exploring environmental visions of the future -- both hopeful and cautionary, current and historical, documentary and narrative -- and the ways our actions knowingly and inadvertently contribute to different future directions for the planet.
This time we add an international partner, the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, who will partner with Tales from Planet Earth to screen our films in Stockholm in April 2014. We are excited tales about the planet will now be shared around the planet, as we expand the community built around environmental storytelling. We are also thrilled to announce that a frequent guest of the festival, filmmaker Alex Rivera, will be returning for the Fall 2013 semester as an artist-in-residence, teaching a course on filmmaking for students.
Check back periodically to this page between now and November, as we update it with teasers of the films screening in 2013! (All films subject to change between now and the festival)
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Fritz Lang (145 min., b&w, Germany, In German with English subtitles)
A satiric commentary on labor, society, and the future of mankind, this landmark film takes place in an unspecified year and is set in the city of Metropolis, home to a Utopian society where wealthy residents live an easy life. One resident, Freder Fredersen, spots a beautiful woman with a group of children, who later disappear. Trying to follow her, he is horrified to find an underground world of workers who run the machinery that keeps the above ground Utopian world functioning. The film has unfortunate associations with the Nazi party, as it was an early favorite of Adolf Hitler. But as a historical document and a work of cinema it remains among the most important surviving works from 1920s cinema.
Osamu Tezuka (4 min., color, Japan, In Japanese with English subtitles)
The demands of society's increasingly mechanized and disposable culture are neatly satirized in this brief work by the Japanese "father of Manga." Shouldn't we always have what's new at the push of a button? But in a world of easy impersonal convenience, who will you call when things go wrong? A film for anyone who has ever cursed at the banal pleasantries of an automated operator and what they portend for our future.