A love affair with the Albatrosses

A love affair with the Albatrosses

  24 Apr 2018

If I were to summarize in one sentence the movie, “Albatross” that was shown by the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) on Saturday night, then it would be through that one-liner from the movie itself: “The most painful part for me is that I know, what they couldn’t know, why they are dying.”

Albatross is a film that revolved around the story of Albatrosses, a group of large web-footed seabirds that have long slender wings, on Midway Island that is told in the perspective of another bird.

The film starts with a series of images of Albatross carcasses, decaying with the passage of time except for those little pieces of plastics inside their rotting stomachs that seem to be indestructible.

In the shores of Midway Island, the film team headed by film director Chris Jordan, captured the actual flights and plights of the Albatrosses.

“The journey of ALBATROSS began in 2008, as a collaboration with activist/photographer Manuel Maqueda. Studying the newly-emerging issue of ocean plastic pollution, we learned of a stunning environmental tragedy taking place on a tiny atoll in the center of the vast North Pacific Ocean. We immediately began planning an expedition there, and on our first trip to Midway Island in September of 2009, we and our team photographed and filmed thousands of young albatrosses that lay dead on the ground, their stomachs filled with plastic. The experience was devastating, not only for what it meant for the suffering of the birds, but also for what it reflected back to us about the destructive power of our culture of mass consumption, and humanity’s damaged relationship with the living world,” said Albatross film director Chris Jordan on the website www.albatrossthefilm.com.

Yet amid the alarming introductory scenes, moviegoers were caught into a love affair with the thousands of live Albatrosses, witnessing their way of life from the big screen as the film progressed as if the screen was a tunnel into another world.

It was mesmerizing to see the innocent creatures peacefully flapping their wings and moving their bodies as if they were dancing into the song of the universe that only them can hear. The cinematic shots were outstanding, giving the viewer a sight with a precision probably similar to that of a bird’s perspective. Cinematographers probably knew how it is like to be a bird to get those amazing close-up shots without ruining the feeling of security and serenity among the birds.

The film is not for those who are merely looking for fleeting and short-lived fun but if one is looking for higher purpose and deeper meaning, then this is probably for you. The universality of the message of the film, however, demands that everyone should watch the film. The gravity of its message will leave one wondering, “what have I been doing all my life?”

Indeed, we walk through life too absorbed about almost everything without ever having a single thought about the consequences of our little actions that actually threaten the life of another living thing. It is but a sad reality that as we preoccupy ourselves on how to improve our lives, we are diminishing another species’ capacity to live. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)