Climate Realism: An Environmental Justice Approach to Climate Fiction

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Millicent Marcus
Essay Abstract: 
Climate fiction, the film category that engages with representations of climate change, does not always acknowledge the experiences of people actually affected by climate change. Recognizing that Hollywood has a particularly unique opportunity to change the opinions and priorities of millions of people, I suggest that climate fiction filmmakers should take a more active role in accurately representing the struggles of climate change experiencers. Using Italian neorealism as a model film movement, I develop a ‘climate realist’ framework for addressing the situations of climate change experiencers in climate fiction, with the purpose of raising social and political awareness of their struggles. I then use this framework to analyze and discuss four recent climate fiction films: The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Happening (2008), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), and Interstellar (2013).