“Legacy”, Leanne Arthus-Bertrand’s horrific film about the planet and humanity

At the end there is a slap. Huge. We know all of that, of course, but as we present it like this, we wonder why we’re still doing nothing. Or very little. Or not enough …

With his new movie “Legacy” – “Heritage” in French, the one we’ve received and the one we’re leaving – airing on Tuesday January 26th at 9:05 PM at M6, Yann Arthus-Bertrand aims to shock beauty and emotion. By advocating for urgent change in behavior in the face of climate change, he continues his cautionary work.

It is part of the human story that he tells us. Well started story, prof success story Who can alarmingly end in bankruptcy … the 74-year-old photographer and director looks at humanity. About how it domesticated the planet, how it prospered on its surface and how it depletes it, consumes it, and will consume it if left unchecked.

Yangshan Port, deep water container terminal, in Hangzhou Bay, Shanghai, China. / M 6 / Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Not only does he remember the note – which is widely shared today and whose evidence flows daily – it tells the story of the road we traveled. Since the dawn of time. All about energy, this is the common thread of history. The energy of the sun, the earth, life, exists in origin and that one finds everywhere, in plants and animals, an energy that naturally passes from species to species.

How everything changed in 150 years

Energy exploited by man. First, harmony with nature. The most intelligent species have adapted, observed and imitated accumulated knowledge and progressed to improve their comfort, reduce their efforts, and gain competence. Thanks to fossil fuels, in particular, it has been exploited on a large scale for 150 years.

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Icebreaker
Icebreaker “Louis Saint Laurent” in Resolute Bay, in Nunavut, Canada. / M 6 / Yann Arthus-Bertrand

If the 4.5 billion years of the planet’s life were shrunk to 24 hours a day, those 150 years would be barely five microseconds. Five microseconds changes everything during it, the director explains.

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More noticeable, it also takes its life scale to show acceleration. 40 years ago he lived in Kenya to observe lions. Paradise is nearly lost today, a region eroded by the greenhouses under which green beans grow, which can be found year-round on tables all over the world.

A lion hunts for wild animals in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, where Jan Arthus Bertrand once lived.  / M6 / Jan Arthus Bertrand
A lion hunt for wildlife in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, where Jan Arthus Bertrand once lived. / M6 / Jan Arthus Bertrand

In 40 years, two-thirds of animal species will have disappeared, 80% of flying insects, 30% of birds … Today, land animals account for only 4% of the biomass of invertebrates when humans and their pets, their livestock, account for 94%.

Figures that make you shiver, stunning visuals

These numbers are exciting. It gives some of what you need here to better appreciate, qualify and understand this global change. In order to also flog the super intelligence of this species, our intelligence, but we do not succeed in putting it in the service of this necessary rescue.

From the sky, with rare exceptions, the visuals of “Legacy” are lavish, surprising, and sometimes stunning. Whether it is the beauty of landscapes or the giant of human construction, these views of the planet are often hypnotic. Crops and livestock attachments as far as the eye can see, massive port terminals, herds of buffalo or crowds of vacationers huddled together in the water or on the beaches, the images are photographed, as if hung, around the world from drones.

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Ipanema beach, crowded, in Rio de Janeiro, one of the images seen from the sky
Ipanema beach, crowded, in Rio de Janeiro, one of the images seen from the sky of “Legacy”. / M 6 / Yann Arthus-Bertrand

No more helicopters and travel for a manager who, according to his convictions, has worked remotely with local operators. In a calm voice and without being ethical – “I’ve spent three quarters of my life beside this question,” admits Jan Arthus-Bertrand, recounting this frantic race, and how slowing it down before climate change makes life impossible in a few decades. A near future in anticipation of it relates to the conjugation of the verb in the present tense. In the matter and not in the condition.

Editor’s rating: 5/5

“legacy”French documentary (2021) by Yann Arthus Bertrand (1 hour 40 minutes).

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