Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

2 Nov 2016

Flood and Inferno

Posted by Michael Keating

It’s not often we look to Hollywood for messages about sustainability. But, two current films bring very different, powerful messages about the unsustainability crisis facing us. Leonardo DiCaprio does it with a high-quality documentary on climate change, called Before the Flood. As an Oscar-winning movie star and a United Nations Messenger of Peace, DiCaprio got to travel the world, and interview such leaders as US President Barack Obama and Pope Francis. Tom Hanks, another A-list actor, stars in Inferno, film about a mad scientist who sees the world going to hell in a handbasket. His response is to create a plague that will reset the clock by wiping out at least of humans. Hanks is out to foil the plot. Interestingly, both films hark back to mediaeval paintings to reinforce their messages about the unpalatable future we face if humanity does not curb its environmental excesses. Inferno uses the Map of Hell done in the late 15th century by Italian master painter Sandro Botticelli. DiCaprio uses Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, which hung above his crib in poster form. This three-panel painting, from the same period as Botticelli’s, includes surreal depiction of hell.

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