‘An Inconvenient Truth’ won’t be shown in Greece’s multiplexes

The tickets were sold out well before the doors opened, only this wasn’t at some Athenian multiplex, but in Paris, and not for an American blockbuster but for former US vice president Al Gore’s film on global warming, «An Inconvenient Truth.» A sudden autumn rain had sent us into a central multiplex where Gore’s film was showing alongside French romantic comedies, «The Devil Wears Prada» and Steven Frears’s «The Queen.» We found out a few days later that Gore’s film will probably never be seen on a screen in Athens, as the distribution company does not expect it to draw crowds. The Paris audiences consisted of groups of students, families with teenagers, older women straight from the hairdresser and hip-hop youngsters who looked like they would be more at home writing graffiti on city walls. We tried to imagine a similar audience queuing up for the same film in Athens. Admittedly it was difficult, and that is a great shame. It would be encouraging to see Athenians filling cinemas on a Sunday afternoon for a documentary that deals with the most burning environmental issue in recent years – global warming and climate change – talking about it at the intermission, discussing it with their children and their friends. Not because «An Inconvenient Truth» is a landmark in the history of cinema because of its directing, aesthetics or photography. On the contrary, however, it stars a person who introduces himself with the words: «I’m Al Gore, I used to be the next president of the United States,» and who after losing the 2000 election took off around the world with his laptop trying to convince people that global warming was more dangerous than al-Qaida. For 100 minutes, with the help of director Davis Guggenheim, Al Gore showed his images, analyzed statistics and explained how Greenland’s ice fields are melting at double the rate of a decade ago, that 2005 was the hottest year in history, that if this process continues at the current rate, the map of the world will soon be no longer as we know it, as entire regions will disappear under the sea. There are moments when he gives the impression that he is using climatic change as a way to promote himself and his public image and his thoughts about losing the 2000 election. The film does not provide any new information for those who already have some knowledge of the problem of climate change. In any case, Gore is appealing to a wider audience. The film stole the show at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and earned $23 million at American box offices. Although it is not being shown in many theaters, it is the third most popular documentary ever shown in the USA. There is a lot more that it could have said but what it does say is powerful and convincing, even if the issue does not appear to be of interest to the Greek public. And that is yet another «inconvenient truth.»

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