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MIFF 2024 Highlights Urgency of Environmental Action in Engaging Session with Joëlle Chesselet

Mumbai: “We can’t dither when nature is perishing. We can’t dither when nature is on the verge of devastation due to careless human hazards,” said Joëlle Chesselet, director of the eco-psychological documentary My Mercury, during an enlightening In-Conversation session at the 18th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF). The session, titled “In the Age of Anthropocene, Is There Still Time to Dither?- A Case in Point,” provided a compelling exploration of environmental urgency as depicted in her film.

Joëlle Chesselet’s My Mercury, which premiered at MIFF yesterday, delves into the extraordinary conservation efforts of her brother Yves Chesselet on Mercury Island. The 104-minute documentary captures Yves’ solitary mission to reclaim the island for endangered seabirds and other wildlife threatened by seals. “His daring mission to reclaim the island for endangered species unfolds as a captivating tale of sacrifice, triumph, and the profound bonds forged between man and nature,” Joëlle remarked.

The film offers an intricate look at the decline of endangered seabirds and other wildlife facing existential threats, highlighting the intricate balance between human and non-human interactions in maintaining ecological stability. “Finding a true human-nature relationship is like finding God,” an emotional Joëlle opined, emphasizing the complex and exhilarating relationship between humans and nature explored in her film.

Joëlle emphasized the authenticity of the narrative, asserting, “Everything in this film is true.” She described the film as a tale of hope, sacrifice, and transformation, reflecting the profound and often challenging connections between humans and the natural world.

Lloyd Ross, the South African director, music producer, and cinematographer of My Mercury, shared insights into the challenges faced during the film’s prolonged shooting period. He detailed the logistical difficulties and the perseverance required to document the isolated conservation efforts on Mercury Island.

The session was moderated by Sankar Ramakrishnan, a renowned screenwriter, director, producer, and actor known for his work in Malayalam cinema. His insightful questions facilitated a deeper understanding of the film’s themes and the pressing environmental issues it addresses.

This discussion provided a thought-provoking examination of the Anthropocene era, underscoring the urgent need for environmental action and the critical role of documentary filmmaking in raising awareness. Joëlle Chesselet’s passionate advocacy for nature and compelling storytelling highlighted the vital connections between humans and the environment, urging immediate and meaningful action to prevent further ecological devastation.

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