00-Baby Boom Child, Peak Oil and its tragic legacy

During a long bike trip to back home, a mother and her son reflect hindsight about our time. Along the streets of a desert and abandoned industrial city, two generations meet and confront each other. The next generation, heiress of the errors of those who have not be able to maintain the future, and the previous one, our generation, called to take its responsibilities and answer about an announced and never averted disaster.

00-Baby Boom Child is the incisive animated Short Film by the Swedish director Maja Lindström and by Lars Nordén, that won the Prix Couvée de Courts in Paris, during the 2015 edition of the FreDD Festival, member of the Green Film Network.

00-Baby Boom Child Poster

The scenario, built in 3D, shows an imminent and post-oil future. Among industries, construction sites and waste out of control, the two protagonists advance laboriously, retracing the steps of an inevitable collapse, that is the result of a selfish greedy and hectic society. The constant desire for growth and the conviction of having unlimited resources, led to Peak Oil. Hence the catastrophic consequences affecting both the abstract world monetary system, and daily life.

00-Baby Boom Child tells about a society that, despite the perceived danger, preferred to give up the chance to reduce its impact on the environment and to use alternative sources of energy. The pace of growth, imposed from above with the pursuit of high standards of living, made nobody really did anything to manage the change appropriately.

“To make this film was a way for me to study, to prepare mentally and to find out more about how Peak Oil possibly will affect my and my childrens’ future prospects and todays society in large” says Maja Lindström, whom we had an interesting conversation with. “Unfortunately, as early as this year – 2015, it is estimated that the total world oil production has steadily begun to decline. Yet there is surprisingly little debate over the fact that we have built ourselves into a society that demands the opposite, ie, increasing assets, not to collapse. I made this film to make people understand. We will still have to make up some good answers to our children, to the generation born in the 21 century, whom will grow up post Peak Oil, in a world characterized by shortages. So the title of the film refers to the children of the huge generation born since 2000, like my own children, 2 and 8 years old today”.

Mother and son talk about Peak Oil's consequences

For this generation, therefore, the future, left in the hands of banks getting richer with the debts and the sacrifices of taxpayers, is without opportunities. The fear of giving up a part of well-being and the tendency to consume a resource held erroneously to be fundamental and unlimited, led our society toward a predictable failure. The obsessive search for oil, the real currency of our time, led Western powers to impose its dominance, in the guise of democracy.

I’m convinced”, continues the director, “that environmental issues will not be dealt with in a serious way, and energy crisis will not be handled effectively by our politicians, as they are tied to today’s’ totally unsustainable economic system, based on perpetual growth and increasing debt. I made the film to argue that it is vital that we take personal responsibility and act on grassroot level on this”.

The dialogue between mother and son is a metaphor for a sterile future, which can only blame the generation of fathers for failing to notice the imminent collapse, or for the most serious fault of ignoring the problem consciously, and leaving the consequences to the posterity.

If we don't reduce our impact on the environment we'll leave no future to our children

An effective stylistic choice that Maja Lindström explains deeper. “While I was researching for the script I came to the conclusion that It would be a compelling way to get through with “dry facts” if they were translated into an emotional dialogue – how do a mother of my generation explain to her child that we didn’t have a plan B? Will she admit that we actually in front of this great change in our life conditions didn’t act with responsibility? I also figured that an animated film on the subject could attract people that otherwise would not go and search this information. The film hardly have a story line and that was something I had to defend for more than a year before the Swedish Film Institute accepted it”.

00-Baby Boom Child shows without filters the dystopian reality which we are moving toward. The Short Film can ben read as the ultimate invitation to a desperate attempt to redeem ourselves from the errors that one day we will have to explain. With its ability to inform and make the people think, cinema really can make the difference. “Our huge amount of fictive storytelling”, ends the director, “is stealing attention from the understanding of the Big Drama of our time – how humanity will survive next century, as so many crises are gathering up”.

00-Baby Boom Child is available online with English (here below) and French subtitles.