- Reporters Desk
Water and Absolute Truth Ahead of the Paris Summit on Climate Change
By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor
Nuoc 2030 didn’t get the attention it deserved when it premitered at the San Pedro International Film Festival in October. That is a shame, considering its proximity to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
The conference intends to achieve a universal and enforceable agreement on the world’s climate — despite failing to achieve such an agreement at 20 previous annual conferences.
Nuoc 2030 is a piece of science fiction more-or-less based on that failure. It’s set in Vietnam in not-so-distant 2030, where rising sea levels have driven 80 percent of the population from Ho Chi Minh City. Those that remain live on floating barges and a few specks of land above water. Fittingly, “nuoc” is the Vietnamese word for “water.”
Although the film’s message is obvious, it is not heavy-handed. Filmmaker Minh Nguyen-Vo takes a Shakespearian approach to telling this story. Underpinned by the beautiful cinematography of Bao Nguyen, Nuoc 2030 depicts a different kind of dystopian future, enabling Nguyen-Vo to seamlessly weave the film’s environmental themes into a plot driven by a love triangle and mysterious murder, ultimately achieving a film that spans many genres.
Nuoc 2030 opens with a wife (Sao) grieving the apparent murder of her husband (Thi). With the use of well-placed and neatly executed flashbacks, Nguyen-Vo
unveils the couple’s backstory: a happy one, despite the hard scarcity of water and food as well as Thi’s desire to remain on his family’s land, which is under water.
The effects of climate change pervade the movie, relentlessly revealing how completely the facts of life have changed from a diet abundant in seafood, but with few quality fruits and vegetables to balance it. People must buy large jugs of water for drinking and bathing. It even affects sexual relations and family planning.
Climate change has also transformed land disputes into territorial water disputes between private individuals. Large corporations buy up whatever land masses remain and charge exorbitantly for food, which is genetically engineered in laboratories and grown on floating farms.
Against this ever-startling backdrop, the strong-willed Sao must make a crucial decision about her ex-lover, Giang, a scientist whose breakthrough created the salt-water-growing plants that enabled this new world and is also a suspect in her husband’s murder.
This film was released in 2014 and has been making the rounds in the independent film circuit since.
San Pedro resident and filmmaker Minh Nguyen-Vo, has worked to keep attention on his film ahead of the conference. He hopes that a new universal climate agreement that is applicable to all the 195 states parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be reached.
Nguyen-Vo concentrates attention on Sao pursuit of the truth behind her husband’s murder. In his film statement, Nguyen-Vo says the, “truth is not always available in life.” The filmmaker noted that Sao went to the floating farm near where her husband was murdered and uncovers the fact that the farm was actually a genetic engineering research laboratory headed by her ex-lover.
“Many different explanations for the death of her husband seem possible,” Nguyen-Vo wrote.
“Is Giang a passionate researcher who is raising a legitimate warning about his own research breakthrough for the good of others or is he a delusional scientist who would commit murder to keep the secret? Will Sao come back to her former lover? Or will she run away from a murderer? An extremely important decision has to be made without knowing the absolute truth.”
Nguyen-Vo draws a parallel between Sao’s search for the truth and humanity’s search for the truth about the cause of climate change, noting, “The search for the absolute truth in global climate change is still going on. What causes the seawater level to rise?”
Nguyen-Vo doesn’t provide clear answers to either the film or the large climate change questions. What he does create is a large opening for conversation on both the film and climate change.