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The Invisible (R)evolutions: slowing down to live better

It is said that practical example is the best way to get real change. Against the streams of words, against pessimism and discouragement, against all of the situations that seem preset, unalterable and too big for us. The Invisible (R)evolutions (“L’urgence de ralentir” is the original French title) is a documentary by the French director Philippe Borrel. It tells stories about citizens of the world who have joined forces: creating cooperative and supportive groups, giving birth to a series of projects able to find a real alternative to the traditional concept of growth at any cost and rhythm.

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Our imaginary world is suffocating in an asphyxiating atmosphere of predictions that are often anxiety-filled: the debt crisis, a climate catastrophe, the war of resources, or economic collapse. It’s easier to describe or imagine an agonizing world rather than a better onethe director tells us.In my last seven films I’ve observed the course of society’s dehumanization through the examples of technological acceleration without safeguards or the generalization of industrial “junk food” in the hands of lobbies. So I felt an urgent need to film a “counter-shot” filmed on the side of the people who already dropped out the mainstream capitalist system, working hard in order to invent new solutions, new models, new paradigms in a context of growing social and climate injustice.

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The protagonists of the documentary are many, and they are all connected in the attempt of gaining back the exclusive rights on their values and time: they are persuaded that preferring other types of wealth to money doesn’t mean giving up on success. “We don’t want your civilized model of development” firmly states one of the founders of Barefoot College. This project based in Rajastan, India, is training women (in six month only) to become solar energy systems engineers, which they build with their own hands in a mix of tradition and innovation.

barefoot college

But this is just an example. From the Italian-French NO-TAV movement to the manifest “Prosperity without growth” by Tim Jackson, from “Reporterre” website to the brilliant, green-oriented administration of Bristol municipality, from the alternative forms of credit (so sympathetic and so different from the bank dynamics we are used to) to the big amount of examples of circular economy in USA, Europe or Central America: the pieces of the puzzle compose a picture that reveals an emerging world, responsive to the urgent need of slowing down that Philippe shows in its documentary. “I like to build my films like puzzles, piece by piece, putting into perspective contrasting aspects of a same reality. For me it is the best way to help the viewers to change the way they think and they consider their lives”.

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He says that he prefers a filmmaking style where he is actively involved in the action in order to better understand the challenges and contradictions of every specific kind of reality. “The film’s ambition is to encourage us all to reflect on our own life and capacity, our desire to change or not. The social and ecological Transition has begun but a lot of people don’t have any idea about it. So my purpose was to lighten the Transition movements which already offering many local solutions worldwide, all adapted to local stakes and needs. That has to be shown globally. And Cinema is one of the most powerful tool to help people change their mind, perspectives and habits!

Selected for several international events, the documentary has won this year the Green Up Film Festival, member of the Green Film Network and it is fulfilling its mission screening after screening. That’s an ambitious mission of course, but it is supported by facts: by the creativity and the courage of those who have been able to put into practice their small, enormous, yet visible custom-made revolution.