“The Crisis of Civilization” is the documentary feature film (77 minutes – a film by Dean Puckett, animations by Lucca Benney, cinematography by Suresh Kara) version of Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed’s 2010 book “The User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization and how to save it” (Pluto Press ISBN 978-0-7453-3053-2). Nafeez himself is the central character as it is based around interview with him only. No others are featured. So, does it work? Actually it does the business quite well. Anyone who couldn’t be bothered to read his book would be well off sitting down to watch this. Ahmed’s central thesis has grown significantly his book “The War On Truth” came out in 2005. Nafeez is the Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research and Development and he has been promoting the idea that modern Islamic Terrorist are in bed with western security services. His is not and idle conspiracy theory: his books have been thoroughly researched and he has supplied good evidence to back his ideas.
So where does “Crisis” take us? Since 2005 Nafeez has obviously been busy building in the wider Geopolitical situation and now includes Climate Change, Peak Oil, Financial collapse and Food Shortages into his world model. Again his work is convincing and many activists in the field will nod knowingly during the film. Has he unveiled anything new? Probably not. Maybe this will be new to a readership previously familiar with his work on terrorism but there is not much here that you wouldn’t have got from “Crossing the Rubicon” by Michael C Ruppert. Bring in some Heinberg and Hopkins and you probably have all you need already to understand the world we live in. Our Financial system is unsustainable and built on an assumption of perpetual growth derived from ever expanding fossil fuel extraction. Resource depletion is likely to crash the economic system whilst climate change is likely to crash global food supplies. Hence no money, no food, nor energy: all the ingredients for the “crisis” of the title. A society experiencing such a crisis will crack down on civil liberties effecting everyone’s freedom. Grim BUT Nafeez has also done the leg-work now to offer a host of suggestions as to how we solve the crisis. As in the book they feel a bit like after-thoughts but we hope he works more with these ideas in future.
So what are his ideas? He doesn’t name “Transition” with a big “T” but he certainly uses the phrase “transition to a post-carbon-economy” which involves limited globalisation. We should all be focused more on our local economies with local supply chains for food and energy. Again – nothing unique or new here for those working in this field.
Do we like this movie? Yes, it is watchable, not because of the static talking head that is Nafeez, but because of the illustrative animations and use of stock footage largely derived form the USA in the halcyon days of the post-war boom. Anyone familiar with the look and feel of “The End of Suburbia“, “The Corporation” or “The Age of Stupid” will recognise the style of this film. Some may find it irritating as it is somewhat “arty”; more style versus content. Some may also be surprised by Nafeez himself. He has hasn’t appeared on film since “Oil, Smoke and Mirrors” which covered similar territory. He puts you to mind of a schoolboy as he remains strikingly young in appearance. His choice of words when speaking is far plainer and more “street” than his written word. We are not sure if this is a good thing so he should probably remain behind the camera instead of in front of it. This aside this is a good movie: highly recommended and would be good to be shown to Transition Initiatives.