Thursday, September 23, 2010

180 Degrees South

I've had some time on my hands recently to scour Netflix and catch up on some documentaries I have been meaning to see. Among them are Scorsese's Dylan documentary, "No Direction Home," the new Doors documentary, "When You're Strange," as well as "It Might Get Loud," an homage to the electric guitar featuring Jack White, Jimmy Page, and The Edge.

However, I find myself writing this post after watching "180 Degrees South," a documentary outside the musical genre that chronicles climber/surfer/adventurer Jeff Johnson's land and sea trek to Patagonia, following in the footsteps of legendary climber (and Patagonia outdoor company founder) Yvon Chouinard's epic 1968 trek to summit rare peak, Cerro Corcovado.

For all you outdoors enthusiasts, it's a must-see, as the film offers great climbing and surfing footage set in arguably the most breathtaking backdrops on earth. However, adventure aside, the film really hammers home the underlying message of conservation and the human race's duty to preserve wildlands and ecosystems.

For, As Johnson discovers in his travels, Chile's wild rivers are being dammed up and its coast being marred by pulp mills. In turn, the fisheries, which served as the lifeblood to generations of Chileans, are deteriorating.

What makes the film so captivating is not only the scenery and the genuine characters, but the great soundtrack that accompanies the film. It includes original music by Mason Jennings, James Mercer, Ugly Casanova and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, as well as songs by Vetiver, M. Ward, Jack Johnson, Andrew Bird, and a rendition of Woody Guthrie's "Remember The Mountain Bed," performed by Wilco and Billy Bragg which I had never heard, but is my new favorite song.

It looks like I have a new favorite documentary as well.


A couple of the grassroots organizations promoted in the film worth checking out:

Conservacion Patagonia (preserving Patagonia's wildlands) and Sin Represas! (Patagonia without dams).

Buy the soundtrack here!

"If you love a place, you have a duty to protect it. And to love a place, you must know it first." - Jeff Johnson, 180 Degrees South

1 comment:

  1. I agree man. Checked this out and it is great. I admire this guys passion and his pursuit of it. I also strongly support the work that Yvon is doing down there. The world needs more people like this. The real problem is though the wider society in general. And I am part of that problem but it is a very complex problem.

    Over population is at the root of it allied with over consumption in the west and now China. I want to achieve something with my life like most people but also want to protect the wilderness as I believe that the value of the sheer beauty of these places in the world and the future value of it far outweighs the value of any resources that might lie within them. The natural resources are finite. The beauty of these places if valued by humankind is infinite.