SXSW Film Review: Planetary

Meditative global tour of Earth from a distance

To say that Guy Reid's film takes the long view of our world and humankind's relationship to it is to put it mildly. Planetary begins by taking us into space and gives us ample time to view Earth from a distance that erases borders and encourages us to see the planet as a single, living organism.

That idea established, the film re-enters the atmosphere and embarks on a global tour, alternating breathtaking visuals of nature with shots of urban centers bustling with human activity, often in time-lapse sequences in the manner of Planetary's spiritual forebears Koyannisqatsi and Baraka. This film shares their awe-inspiring imagery of the natural world – testament to cinematographer Christoph Ferstad – and sense that the hive of humanity is out of balance with it. But it differs significantly from those wordless films in its voice. Woven throughout are insights and wisdom from astronauts, biologists, philosophers, Zen Buddhist priests, and leaders of indigenous peoples who provide not only downbeat assessments of our current state but also hopeful paths forward. It all begins with perception: how we see our planet and our connection to everything on it. Their calm, measured words, the Human Suits' tranquil score, and the film's steady, even pace almost promote a meditative state – fitting, perhaps, for receiving Planetary's message.


Planetary

Visions
Friday, March 20, noon, Alamo Lamar


Keep up with all our SXSW Film coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw/film.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Q&A With Comedian Tig Notaro
Q&A With Tig Notaro
Showtime documentary airs Friday

Andy Campbell, April 15, 2015

SXSW Film 2015 Rundown
SXSW Film Coverage
Reviews, interviews, photo galleries, and more

March 22, 2015

More by Robert Faires
Primed for Some Literary Vibranium?
Primed for Some Literary Vibranium?
Readers say, "Austin African American Book Festival forever!"

June 22, 2018

Fair Youth Make Fairer Shakespeare
Fair Youth Make Fairer Shakespeare
Two fine chances to see young people make the Bard come alive

June 21, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Film, SXSW Film 2015, Planetary, Guy Reid, Christoph Ferstad, Human Suits

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle