The bold and striking sci-fi drama THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE is the story of a woman who, to the shock of her family, comes back from the dead, and discovers she has an important purpose to fulfil. This beautiful, meditative masterwork, part surreal eco-drama, part magical sci-fi, is released in UK cinemas on March 24th.
Chilean writer-director Francisca Alegría was inspired by a real event in Chile in 2017 – the unexplained death of thousands of fish in a river is used as a jumping off point for her ethereal masterwork.
THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE is the latest in a long line of distinguished and important films based around actual environmental catastrophes. In 2019’s Dark Waters, Mark Ruffalo plays a lawyer who takes on a chemicals company that has been polluting the water in West Virginia, which led to cattle being poisoned. This stirring real life drama illustrates how films can make a difference – the week it was released, the chemical company’s share price plunged.
Another similarly themed film, Erin Brockovich (2000), nabbed star Julia Roberts an Oscar and swept the board at the ceremony, showing how David vs Goliath activism can be truly effective. It’s the true story of the single mother of the title who took on a Californian power company that was responsible for water pollution. In 1983’s Silkwood, Meryl Steep portrays Karen Silkwood, a worker at a plutonium processing plant who wanted to blow the whistle on the company’s substandard safety regulations – but the company was determined not to let her reveal their failings. While in The China Syndrome (1979) Jane Fonda is a news reporter who witnesses an accident at a nuclear facility and ends up meeting dangerous resistance to getting her story out. The film was based on a potentially extremely dangerous incident in Alabama in 1975, when, due to operational issues and safety failures, a fire broke out at a nuclear reactor.
As Alegría says, “we are all suffering together now, and I wish that we could be more aware, more empathic, and more willing to listen”. As long as there are films like the above, perhaps people will be.