What Does It Mean to Be an Ecological Filmmaker?

Knut Erik Jensen’s Work as Eco-Auteur

in Projections
View More View Less
  • 1 University of Copenhagen mette.hjort@hum.ku.dk
Restricted access

Abstract

Norwegian filmmaker Knut Erik Jensen claims to be an ecological filmmaker. This article explores what this means. Selected examples of filmmakers’ unsound attitudes toward nature are discussed to provide a context for the proposed definition of ecological filmmaking. The latter, it is claimed, goes beyond green filmmaking, by both exemplifying and cueing pro-environmental attitudes. The proposal is to understand ecological filmmaking in terms of a cluster of intentions targeting appropriate attitudes toward the natural environment; the intention, for example, to appreciate nature on its own terms. Intentions alone, however, do not suffice, as the filmmaker’s ecologically appropriate goals must be realized in practice. A consideration of recurring features of Jensen’s cinematic style offers examples of how ecological intentions may be expressed in audiovisual works. It further raises questions about the extent to which a distinct ecological style would be the likely outcome of filmmakers’ widely acting on ecological intentions.

Contributor Notes

Mette Hjort is professor of Film Studies at the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen; honorary professor of Visual Studies at Lingnan University; and affiliate professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the author of four monographs, including Small Nation, Global Cinema, and Lone Scherfig’s Italian for Beginners. She has edited a number of volumes, most recently (with Ursula Lindqvist) A Companion to Nordic Cinema. Her current research focuses on transnational capacity building initiatives in the area of moving image production, and on nature-based filmmaking and its possible contributions to the health and well-being of viewers.

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

  • Berleant, Arnold. 2005. Aesthetics and the Environment: Variations on a Theme. Aldershot: Ashgate.

  • Bjørneboe, Marianne. 2000. “Mennesket—en del af naturen.” Rush Print: 68.

  • Bousé, Derek. 2000. Wildlife Films. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Carlson, Allen. 2009. Nature and Landscape: An Introduction to Environmental Aesthetics. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • Carroll, Noël. 1997. “Fiction, Non-Fiction and the Film of Presumptive Assertion: A Conceptual Analysis.” Pp. 173202 in Film Theory and Philosophy, ed. Richard Allen and Murray Smith. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carroll, Noël. 2004. “On Being Moved by Nature: Between Religion and Natural History.” Pp. 89107 in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments, ed. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant. Peterborough: Broadview Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Drengson, Alan, and Yuichi Inoue, eds. 1995. The Deep Ecology Movement. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

  • Gambin, Lee. 2012. Massacred by Mother Nature: Exploring the Natural Horror Film. Baltimore: Midnight Marquee Press.

  • Gustafsson, Tommy, and Pietari Kääpä, eds. 2013. “Introduction: Transnational Ecocinema in an Age of Ecological Transformation.” Pp. 320 in Transnational Ecocinema, ed. Tommy Gustafsson and Pietari Kääpä. Bristol: Intellect Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Habermas, Jürgen. 1987. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures. Trans. Frederick G. Lawrence. Cambridge: MIT Press.

  • Hjort, Mette. 2010. Lone Scherfig’s Italian for Beginners. Seattle and Copenhagen: University of Washington Press and Museum Tusculanum.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hjort, Mette. 2012. “Flamboyant Risk-Taking: Why Some Filmmakers Embrace Avoidable and Excessive Risks.” Pp. 3154 in Film and Risk, ed. Mette Hjort. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hjort, Mette. 2013. “Community Engagement and Film: Toward the Pursuit of Ethical Goals through Applied Research on Moving Images.” Pp. 195214 in Cine-Ethics: Ethical Dimensions of Film Theory, Practice, and Spectatorship, ed. Jinhee Choi and Mattias Frey: London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ingram, David. 2013. “The Aesthetics and Ethics of Eco-Film Criticism.” Pp 4361 in Ecocinema Theory and Practice, ed. Stephen Rust, Salma Monani, and Sean Cubitt. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Iversen, Gunnar. 2006. “The Old Wave: Material History in Cool and Crazy and the New Norwegian Documentary.” Pp. 175188 in Northern Constellations: New Readings in Nordic Cinema, ed. C. Claire Thomson. Norwich: Norvik Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kääpä, Pietari. 2011. “It Can Help Audiences, ‘Old’ and ‘New,’ to Rethink Their Place in the World.” Pp. 12 in Why Does Film Matter?, ed. Masoud Yazdani. Bristol: Intellect.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Klein, Naomi. 2015. This Changes Everything. London: Penguin.

  • Macdonald, Scott. 2013. “The Ecocinema Experience.” Pp. 1741 in Ecocinema: Theory and Practice, ed. Stephen Rust, Salma Monani, and Sean Cubitt. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mathijs, Ernest. 2015. “Exploitation Films.” In Oxford Bibliographies, Cinema and Media Studies, doi: 10.1093/OBO/9780199791286–0096.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maxwell, Richard, and Toby Miller. 2012. “Film and the Environment: Risk Offscreen.” Pp. 271289 in Film and Risk, ed. Mette Hjort. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Naess, Arne. 1973. “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary.” Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 16: 95100.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Palmer, Chris. 2015. Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in an Industry Where Ratings Are King. Philadelphia: Bluefield.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Philosophical Society. “The Performative Contradiction.” www.philosophicalsociety.com/Archives/The%20Performative%20Contradiction.htm (accessed 2 November 2015).

    • Export Citation
  • Plantinga, Carl. 2005. “What a Documentary Is, After All.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63(2): 105117.

  • Pomor Film. “In Development.” www.pomorfilm.no/#!development/c24vq (accessed 28 October 2015).

    • Export Citation
  • Ponech, Trevor. 1999. What is Non-fiction Cinema? Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

  • Renov, Michael, ed. 1993. Theorizing Documentary. London: Routledge.

  • Saito, Yuriko. 1998. “The Aesthetics of Unscenic Nature.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56(2): 101111.

  • Stenport, Anna, and Scott MacKenzie, eds. 2014. Films on Ice: Cinemas of the Arctic. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

  • Willoquet-Maricondi, Paula, ed. 2010. Framing the World: Explorations in Ecocriticsm and Film. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Willoquet-Maricondi, Paula. 2010a. “Introduction: From Literary to Cinematic Ecocriticism.” Pp. 122 in Framing the World: Explorations in Ecocriticsm and Film. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Willoquet-Maricondi, Paula. 2010b. “Preface.” Pp. xixv in Framing the World: Explorations in Ecocriticsm and Film. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Willoquet-Maricondi, Paula. 2010c. “Shifting Paradigms: From Environmentalist Films to Eco-cinema. Pp. 4361 in Framing the World: Explorations in Ecocriticsm and Film. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wollheim, Richard. 1987. “Pictorial Style: Two Views.” Pp. 183204 in The Concept of Style, ed. Berel Lang. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 83 83 28
Full Text Views 8 8 0
PDF Downloads 9 9 3