“On a planet of 7 billion, if I can’t even make my dad care about me, how can I make everyone care about anyone?” This and many other difficult questions are examined in the documentary Radical Friends as first time filmmaker Chihiro Geuzebroek uses her own introspective journey to showcase the personal difficulties of environmental activists.
Feeling disconnected from her European community, Geozebroek travels to her estranged father’s homeland of Bolivia in order to learn more about the country’s inspiring environmentalist efforts and philosophies. During the course of the trip we meet Bolivian president Evo Morales and several activist groups whose grassroots efforts adhere to the Bolivian concept of “living well, living brave, and dying satisfied”. Based on the concept of universal interconnectedness, “living well” entails accepting that moving ahead in life requires an understanding of our history, our environment, and ourselves. The trip profoundly affects Geozebroek, who has long struggled with issues of cultural, personal, and familial identity.
Throughout the film Geozebroek recounts her insecurities when faced with passionate activists and attempts to find her life’s purpose before our very eyes. Though this is a personal exploration, the filmmaker ties her experiences to her desire to prompt similar introspective exercises within the audience.
Radical Friends could easily have been a self-indulgent work were it not for Geozebroek’s extreme earnestness and deep respect for Bolivia’s culture and its activists. With the help of endearing animations and a relaxed interview style, the filmmaker has created a unique film that is both informative and emotional. (Elena Lowe)
Friday, November 7th. 1:00pm, Nat Taylor Theatre (York Universty)