An unforgettable and shocking wake-up call, A CRUDE AWAKENING offers the rock-solid argument that the era of cheap oil is in the past. Relentless and clear-eyed, this intensively-researched film drills deep into the uncomfortable realities of a world that is both addicted to fossil fuels and blissfully unaware of the looming "peak oil" crisis. Drawing on an international cast of maverick energy experts and thinkers, directors Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack debunk the conventional wisdom that oil production will continue to climb, and instead stare bleakly at a planet facing economic meltdown and conflict over its most valuable resource. Featuring a haunting score by Phillip Glass and a fascinating array of rare archival footage, the film explores oil's rocky relationship with human progress in locales ranging from ancient Baku, Azerbaijan to dusty oilpatch town McCamey, Texas.
Amidst a dark and disturbing vision of our future, A CRUDE AWAKENING hints at a humbler way of life built around sustainability and alternative energy, providing a visually stunning, boldly prophetic testament which provokes not just thought but action.
While the previous eco-doc Who Killed the Electric Car? spent some time on the world's oil crisis, A Crude Awakening (formerly OilCrash) builds an entire film around the subject. Swiss journalist Basil Gelpke and Irish filmmaker Ray McCormack have constructed their narrative in a conventional manner, alternating between talking heads, archival footage, and modern-day material, but the addition of several pieces by Phillip Glass is an artful touch (and evokes his work on 1988's The Thin Blue Line). Throughout, a diverse array of experts from the U.S., Azerbaijan, Venezuela, and other countries explain how the 20th century became addicted to "the blood of the dinosaurs," and why contemporary society needs to change course. As attorney/activist Matthew David Savinar puts it, "Oil is our God." As Stanford professor Terry Lynn Karl adds, "More and more oil is going to come from less and less stable places...places that actually challenge the taking of oil in the first place." One of the more chilling revelations concerns the discrepancy between the reserves oil-producing nations claim they possess and the actual amount. These padded estimates allow them to drill with impunity, leading to an abundance of wealth in the short term and cataclysmic consequences once they've depleted their supply of this non-renewable resource. A Crude Awakening isn't exactly a day-brightener, but Gelpke and McCormack are comprehensive and impartial in their inquiry, which makes for an informative examination of a vitally important subject. Extras include extended interviews with four participants and bonus chapter Petrostates. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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