One of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Just some of the grave challenges we faced today – from combating AIDS and improving maternal health to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger – alternate with scenes of western prosperity to emphasise either the wealth gap or a comparative universality of issues such as environmental stability and gender equality.
Mansion on the Hill (Gus Van Sant), tackling the subject of infant mortality, focuses on the everyday lives of American youths. Combining dreamlike imagery with stark, factual voiceover, Van Sant engagingly compares the leisurely way of the western teenager to the struggles of his counterpart. In contrast Abderrahmane Sissako’s Tiya’s Dream, shot in Ethiopia, portrays the extreme poverty of one of the world’s poorest countries through the eyes of a young girl. On the opposite side of the continent, Gaspar Noe’s Sida looks at the world of a debauched man living his last days ridden with HIV in a hospital in Burkina Faso, west Africa.
With additional sections filmed as far apart as Iceland and Peru by Jane Campion, Gael Garcia Bernal, Mira Nair, Wim Wenders and Jan Kounen, 8 delivers a fascinating and balanced outlook on the state of our planet by telling the stories of the only people that can help to change the future – ordinary individuals.