The documentary ‘Bigger than us‘ was first screened at the last Cannes Film Festival in its ephemeral selection called ‘Cinema for the Climate‘. It has now been given an exceptional preview at the Institut Lumière in Lyon.
The film was written and directed by Flore Vasseur, a writer and journalist, and produced by the actress, Marion Cotillard, who has long been committed to environmental and social causes.
‘Bigger than us’ shows the lives of seven young men and women from around the world who are fighting for a better future, despite countless obstacles. This is also a major concern for Cotillard. She told euronews that she has always wondered about “the impact we’ve had on future generations”. She also questions our ideas on what we consider future generations to be. “Are we able to see or picture ourselves in 100 years or in 1000 years, and will our impact prevent them from living at that distant point in the future?”, she added.
Flore Vasseur has a long history of activism and documentary filmmaking. She even did a film on Edward Snowden. She is also motivated by her son and the younger generation, but admits that she didn’t before consider what climate change means to children. This new motivation led her to discover Mélati who, even as a child, fought against plastic bag pollution on the beaches of Bali where she’s from.
Vasseur told us that she met Mélati when the girl was 16. At that age, she had already been active for four years and was close to a burn-out. Vasseur said to herself that if Mélati didn’t find like-minded people to connect with, she wasn’t going to hold out. Mélati has found these like-minded people. She served as the film’s narrator and guide on the trip around the planet.
The themes of patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy appear as some of the film’s biggest negatives. However, it also shows that youth initiatives are not isolated, there is a real generation consensus. The director also notes that often women are leading the way in ecology and female education movements, although she didn’t set off thinking about men or women. She only thought “about who is being courageous in these movements.” and according to Vasseur, “there are many women on these front lines.”
The relationship between Flore Vasseur and Marion Cotillard could be described as a kind of sisterhood. Although, for the actress, it’s not a question of opposing men and women, but of recognising legitimate struggles. The two women share similar battles, like that of global female subordination which Cotillard describes as giving women the “need to stand up, to defend themselves, to fight and to demand justice.” Vasseur adds that this battle and wave “will be so perpetual that it’s going to carry everyone away”.
‘Bigger than us‘ is a committed and militant film that will close the next San Sebastian International Film Festival. It is expected to be released across Europe in Autumn.