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An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel brings us up to date, cli­mate­wise

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - Di­rec­tor and An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel: Truth to Power. BEN KENIGSBERG

In a summer movie land­scape with Spi­der-Man, a simian army wag­ing fur­ther battle for the planet and Char­l­ize Theron as a sexy Cold War-era su­per­spy, it says some­thing that one of the most com­pelling char­ac­ters is Al Gore.

An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel: Truth to Power, a follow-up to An In­con­ve­nient Truth, Davis Guggen­heim’s Oscar-win­ning doc­u­men­tary from 2006, is a re­boot that jus­ti­fies its ex­is­tence — and not just be­cause Gore has fresh news to re­port on cli­mate change since his pre­vi­ous mul­ti­me­dia pre­sen­ta­tion played in mul­ti­plexes.

Now gray-haired and at times sound­ing an­grier in his speeches, Gore, in Se­quel, takes on the air of a Shake­spearean fig­ure, a man long cast out of power by what he ca­su­ally refers to as “the Supreme Court de­ci­sion” (mean­ing Bush v. Gore) but still mak­ing the same ar­gu­ments that have been hall­marks of his ca­reer.

If there is a the­sis in this new doc­u­men­tary, di­rected by Bonni

Co­hen and Jon Shenk (Au­drie & Daisy), it’s that a rise in ex­treme weather is mak­ing the im­pact of cli­mate change harder to deny. The movie touches on Hur­ri­cane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philip­pines, the wild­fire in Fort McMur­ray, Canada, and the Zika virus. Gore vis­its Greenland and the flooded streets

of the Mi­ami area. (He ac­knowl­edges a com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship with Florida.)

“The dots are sel­dom con­nected in the me­dia,” he says at one point, but events like these are symp­toms of global warm­ing.

As pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments, he notes the 2015 launch of the Deep Space Cli­mate Ob­ser­va­tory satel­lite, and vis­its a small city in Texas whose Repub­li­can mayor has de­cided that re­new­able en­ergy makes

mar­ket sense.

An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel delves deeper into the ar­cane de­tails of com­pro­mise than its pre­de­ces­sor, with scenes of Gore work­ing to find a mid­dle ground be­tween the needs of de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing na­tions. In a group meet­ing, Piyush Goyal, In­dia’s power min­is­ter, pushes back against Gore’s de­sire to repli­cate in In­dia the ex­panded use of so­lar en­ergy in the United States. “I’ll do the

same thing af­ter 150 years,” Goyal replies.

Dur­ing the 2015 Paris Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence, Gore, who wasn’t an of­fi­cial ne­go­tia­tor, tries to per­suade Lyn­don Rive, then chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Amer­i­can com­pany So­larCity, to grant In­dia the rights to a patent on a type of so­lar tech­nol­ogy. (The re­sults aren’t clear from the film; In­dia signed on to the Paris agree­ment with­out mak­ing a deal with So­larCity

and still hasn’t made one.)

Gore likens Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion to a quip of­ten at­trib­uted to Mike Tyson: You al­ways have a plan un­til you get punched in the face. The movie has been up­dated since its pre­miere at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val in Jan­uary to in­clude Trump’s an­nounce­ment of the United States’ with­drawal from the Paris cli­mate ac­cord, a de­ci­sion that prob­a­bly fore­casts an­other se­quel.

An In­con­ve­nient Truth.

Former Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore vis­its a glacier in Greenland in An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel: Truth to Power, the follow-up to the 2006 cli­mate change doc­u­men­tary

cine­matog­ra­pher Jon Shenk (sec­ond from right) and di­rec­tor Bonni Co­hen (far right) helped cre­ate

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