“Let us not take this planet for granted.”
Since Sunday, Feb. 29, whenever I watch Leonardo DiCaprio in his Oscar acceptance speech, I tear up. His words show his charisma and commitment to do his part to save this planet.
I didn’t think the actor would win an Oscar now. He’s spoken against the big corporations that have been harming our planet for decades (he’s also the executive producer of Cowspiracy). I thought no one would give him more power.
As DiCaprio has been a strong voice in defence of environment, his award has weight. After that speech, his campaign will gain more visibility and potentially engage more people.
I’m glad the actor won the Oscar for The Revenant. He plays a character who has to be fierce to survive. As the director Alejandro Iñárritu described, “[…] These guys [fur trappers] were threatened by accidents, diseases, tribes, wars. This is the real world.”
Maybe for all these reasons, The Revenant is hard to digest. The scene in which the main character, Henry Glass, the American fur trapper who lived in the 1800s, is attacked by a grizzly bear is so violent that it seems real.
It was real. There’s no historical data about what exactly happened. There were no witnesses. But it seems the trapper did have a broken leg, festering wounds and cuts on his back that exposed his ribs.
Despite his conditions, Glass supposedly made his way to the fort where he found help crawling and stumbling 320 km. Where he found strength to survive was the question that Iñárritu asked himself a thousand times.
Whoever watches the movie will ask the same question. The crew filmed The Revenant in the Rocky Mountains (Canada) and Ushuaia (Argentina) to show the extreme conditions that those trappers faced.
The documentary A World Unseen tells that almost 100% of the scenes were outdoors and sometimes the crew travelled hours to remote locations to film short 90 minutes (Iñárritu only shot in natural light).
Why didn’t he use chroma key? “If we ended up [using] green screen with coffee and everybody having a good time […] “everybody will (sic) be happy, but most likely the film would be a piece of s—.”
In fact, Iñárritu didn’t please everyone with his decisions. But, as he said to The New York Times, “Of the 300 we started with, I had to ask some to step away, to honor the other 290.”
We have the dimension of DiCaprio’s commitment in the scene that Glass first has the chance to eat after days in the wilderness. The actor had the choice to eat fake meat, but decided to eat raw bison liver (he vomited right after).
Why is it relevant? Because he has cut off meat from his diet — animal agriculture is the major contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the means of transportation together.
But The Revenant is not only pain. The movie encompasses love, loyalty and forgiveness. It also makes us reflect about the environment and the rights of native people, women and the animals.
This work reflects DiCaprio’s commitment to the environment: “Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species.”
The actor called everyone to support world leaders “who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity […] billions of underprivileged people […] and for those […] whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
If Glass, the fur trapper who survived a bear attack, did crawl 320 km under extreme weather conditions for a reason, have you thought of what could happen if we put the same effort into a cause we believe in?
Photo credit: Reproduction TV