Review: Fuel

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Fuel“I had 9 miscarriages.” It is an echo that strips down the moment to a silent, centrifugal thud. “Make the oil companies pay for that.”

Josh Tickell’s mother – backed by doctors and toxicologists – had good reason to believe that her own pregnancy failures and the ill-health of various family members was directly related to the pollution encountered after they’d relocated from Australia to Louisiana.

After 11 years of persistence, Josh Tickell’s own ‘baby’, Fuel, finally made production stature in 2008 when it garnered an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The film marks the intrepid personal journey of Tickell, an eco-activist who took leap after leap of courage to expose an industry that is, ironically, addicted to itself.

The green theme as a whole is all too eagerly comment-clad. Ready to defend, the mind launches into countless scenes to verify our contribution. Or it manipulates the scale enough on a part-time basis to hope no one notices that we’ve become the by-product of convenience. (The fifteen-minute shower suddenly reduced to 14 minutes: a feat achieved by only the most cultivated of green craftsmen.)

This recent Monday evening brought about a full house for the limited free screening of Fuel – now an internationally recognized, multi-award winning film, endorsed by a veritable bouquet of beautiful celebrities. A frothy gathering spilled undaunted through the doors of the Labia Theatre, coated with just the right tint of advocacy.

And with good reason. It isn’t a secret that a government is only as powerful as its cover-ups, and when taking a thorough look at the US – a country that has only 2% yet consumes 50% of the world’s total oil, this begs intrigue or at least raises the question as to who has the real power over this most powerful of nations.

Furthermore, as oil reserves run dry, there is an inevitable feeling of desperation from the petrochemical industry.

Addressing the veil of 9/11 and the fuel corporations’ funding of governments, Tickell’s straightforward approach floors the viewer in its honesty. Critics are respectfully guided through research and offered suggestions towards solutions that appear incontrovertible.

In a country where $300 million a day was allocated to the Iraq war, another $3 trillion managed to fall into an ‘undocumentable’ status.  Meanwhile “little accidents” at chemical plants claim the lives of many innocent citizens every year.  The idea that there might be an easy solution seems ludicrous. Especially if it comes in the clean alternative form of Biodiesel and Algae.

In the choice between war and algae, the latter should find itself on an immediate pedestal and be serenaded.

Christina Scholtz

Fuel premiered on 23 July at the Labia Theatre and opens to the public on 27 July for a fixed screening in selected independent cinemas.

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