Someplace with a Mountain Reviewed
Film By: Steve Goodall
Chills were sprinkled atop my bare skin as I sat in a small Theatre at Pier 39 after the Oceans Film Festival played the last of its Friday night films, a documentary entitled ‘Someplace with a Mountain.’ The most profoundly human reaction I have ever seen or experienced ensued; an uproarious energy flow and a solid stream of hands up ready to ask questions and also pleading to be a part of a solution to the film that was just shown. Its creator, Steve Goodall, stood on stage- with his pure hippie man beauty, silver hair to his shoulders earnestly accepting the questions and crying because the subjects of his film, a village of people on an island in Polynesia, had not contacted him in the days after the tsunami in Japan and he had no idea if they even existed anymore. Luckily, it proudly states on his website that he has heard word and all is grand with the islanders, for now.
The film is an ode to the streams of positivity that still remains in humanity; the purities of family, relationship, using ones hands and physicality to build shelter and cook sustenance. The film showcases a community of people that are, ultimately, what is right.
Chevy Chase (I must find out how that one came about), narrates the film that is sharply and beautifully shot and never boring in its pacing as some rhetoric documentaries can be. Its watchable demeanor is probably thanks to the superb editing because as Steve the director himself said, I "never wanted to be a film maker,” “I am a sailor.” The man sails around polynesia and stays on islands emerced in simple and utopian cultures for as long as 8 months at a time. Rejecting the set-out Western ways and institutions Steve is an angelic and really interesting man.
That is what makes the film so sincerely pure and easy to watch and engage in. The story is as follows- A man, Steve, lives on an island with beautiful people who are self sustaining and without one ounce of Western influence are unaware of news media or the currently depleting environment; a result of fossil fuels and carbon emission which they have contributed nothing to since they use zero electricity or transportation other than their legs. Their island is at high risk of being washed away, though, because of sea-level rise. Of course, without news sources or a necessity to have interest in the rest of the world- they had no idea. Steve, their American friend, breaks the news to them, via his Dell laptop.
The scene is so strange in which this piece of electronics is surrounded by the faces of indigenous half-naked islanders finding out that their home is doomed . It is one thing to be born knowing that life is going to end, but it is entirely different to be told that the island you’ve built is going to be washed away for no other reason than your fellow human population is smoking cigarettes, driving cars, and wasting a plethora of resources with their addiction to eating fast food in small plastic packages that will never biodegrade. (to be incredibly broad and not touch on the list of a million habitual graves us Westerners dig for ourselves collectively each day).
Thus, comes the solution- for these people to remain in-tact as an established group- and culture, they must move. Their island is flat and the sea will eventually, very soon, eat it.
Steve is in talks with a nearby island called Yap, that does have some highways and branded clothing, but is willing to and currently in the midst of researching the land they can give to their neighbors and save them. Ideally, though, Steve is searching far and wide for a place that they can move and continue on in their own ways, away from all else, someplace with a mountain.
The film will be screened next on PBS nationwide! ! ! Below are the links to the dates throughout the country. The first one will be in Southern California on May 3rd at 9pm (KCET)