‘Joker’ star Phoenix takes on climate change in new short film

Joaquin Phoenix
LOS ANGELES: Joker star Joaquin Phoenix has teamed up with environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion and non-profit organisation Amazon Watch for a short film sounding the alarm around deforestation and global wildfires.
The film “Guardians of Life” also stars Rosario Dawson, Matthew Modine, Oona Chaplin, Q’orianka Kilcher and musician Albert Hammond Jr. They play a medical team racing to save an unseen patient dying of heart failure on the operating table.

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Phoenix described the two-minute film as a call to action saying: “I did it to raise awareness about the meat and dairy industry’s effect on climate change. The fact is we are clear cutting and burning rainforests and seeing the negative effects of those actions worldwide.
“People don’t realize there’s still time, but only if we act now and make sweeping changes to our consumption. We can’t wait for governments to solve these problems for us. We can’t wait until the election to try to make these changes. We have a personal responsibility to make changes in our own lives and act now,” he told Variety magazine.

Last week, Phoenix delivered a rousing acceptance speech at the BAFTAs, calling out “systemic racism” in the film industry, just hours after he led a protest in London with animal activists advocating for veganism.
The actor was arrested last month for participating in a Washington DC protest with Jane Fonda, where he discussed the link between climate change and animal agriculture.

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“Guardians of Life” is the first of 12 films exploring the effects of climate change. Director Shaun Monson said he felt compelled to make the film in the style of a narrative short as documentary-style public service announcement are not effective in moving audiences to take action.

“Instead of focusing on deforestation, ice melting and species extinction, we use a story as a metaphor,” he explained. “The Amazon has been called the lungs of the world, or the heart of the world, but instead of documentary footage we proposed an ER setting with doctors and nurses trying to save an unseen patient with systemic heart failure. The twist is not only who one of the paramedics is, but what they were really fighting to save all along.”
Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook said the film demonstrates how Hollywood is using its influence to take on the climate crisis.

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