April 04, 2016 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
Our globe never ceases to change, falter, adapt, and thrive. Thanks to those dedicated to study these transitions, what we learn from our past can help dictate the choices we make for our future. Daniel Miller, director of the 2008 film “The Linguists,” a film documenting languages on the verge of extinction, seeks to bring social sciences to life yet again with “The Anthropologist.”
“Anthropology is how we learn about changes through people,” Miller says. “This film brings a human face to climate change.”
Filmed over the course of five years, the story is told from the perspective of Kathryn, the teenage daughter of anthropologist Dr. Susan Crate. Amidst traveling to the South Pacific, Peru, Siberia, and other ends of the world to study the state of our planet where plenty of issues could have arisen, the greatest source of conflict existed—unsurprisingly to some—in the mother/daughter dynamic.
“We shot the film when [Kathryn] was 13 to 18 years old,” Miller says. The film recognizes the fact that “[her generation] didn’t ask to be born into climate change, but asks how they will change as individuals to deal with the challenges of the future.”
Simply stated, “This is really a coming of age film,” he says. “Think of it as a John Hughes movie of climate change.”
In addition to inherent struggles between mother and daughter, the film also draws parallels with the discoveries of renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead. Her research on major cultural shifts society faced in the 20th century, like war and globalization, mirror the “doomsday” fears some people have of the effects of climate change. Although many felt the challenges of the generations before us were insurmountable at the time, we’re still here to talk about it.
“They survived it,” Miller says. “It showed the resilience of human beings.”
He adds: “Not only will we get through it, but we’ll get through it together. I know that’s not a popular theme in a film about climate change.”
Miller is optimistic about the future of anthropology and the passion people have for gaining a better understanding of the world around them.
“The next generation loves to travel and learn about different cultures,” says Miller. “This will help us and our communities survive the changes [ahead].”
Ultimately, “If a teenager can make a transformation, so can we.”
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