TIFF Review: Burning

Bushfires rage

Despite the overwhelming evidence and a general consensus within the scientific community, there is still a vocal minority who reject climate change as nothing more than a natural phenomenon. True, to some extent global warming is inexorable, but the actions of humans mean it’s speeding up at an unprecedented and frightening rate. We are in a climate crisis and one of the most powerful visual representations of this are wildfires.

While the Australian government buried its (collective) head in the sand, during 2019 and 2020 the country had the worst bushfires in recorded history. As Prime Minister Scott Morrison took his family on holiday, the country burned. Destroying 59 million acres of land. In her new documentary, Burning, Eva Orner looks at the events of the ‘black summer’ from the perspective of the victims, scientists and activists.

Burning is a damning indictment of a short-sighted government which cares more about money than the future of the people it was elected to serve. Orner uses arresting footage to conjure up the power and danger of these bushfires. Using witness testimonies to underline the devastating impact they’ve had across the country. Burning is a timely reminder of the puissance of mother nature and what we, as caretakers, need to do to protect it.

Burning screens at Toronto International Film Festival.

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