The Ants & The Grasshopper
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 14m
Director(s): Raj Patel & Zak Piper
Where To Watch: releasing digitally on April 11, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: THE ANTS & THE GRASSHOPPER examines the captivating tale of an extraordinary Malawian woman, Anita Chitaya, tackling the challenges of barren landscapes, gender inequality, and hunger. Her mission to raise climate change awareness and protect her homeland from severe weather events takes her on an epic adventure from Malawi to California and even the White House, exploring the complex social fabric of the United States. I can’t help but think of the parallels between this title and the film ANTZ; if you know, you know.
In a display of cinematic parallelism, the film shows her humble agricultural practices in Malawi against the backdrop of large-scale farming operations in America. While we watch her story unfold in a village strapped for resources, she confronts multiple obstacles, such as a patriarchal society and scarce access to education, food, and water. Despite these odds, her unwavering determination and grit shine through the narrative.
As the documentary transitions to the United States, Chitaya engages with politicians and farmers, holding various views on climate change. The film looks at the role religion plays in shaping environmental perspectives.
While Chitaya is dedicated to her cause, her journey to the United States is unfortunate as she frequently encounters opposition and skepticism. Although the film struggles to connect her with potential allies, she remains unwavering in her commitment to effect change and gradually impact her community. Sadly climate change is still a very politicized topic in the US. The right is actively selling the idea that it isn’t happening to their followers.
The film aims to galvanize individuals to unite and lobby for preventive actions. Sadly this is such an uphill battle, especially in a country that has emphasized focusing on the only thing that matters is “you.” I feel like this battle won’t have a resolution until the people who don’t believe in these issues are affected by them.
In conclusion, THE ANTS & THE GRASSHOPPER presents a compelling and emotionally charged narrative, and I would have liked to have seen a deeper dive into the complexities that are the endgame instead of just her journey. I understand this was a film about her and not a worldwide story. Despite its shortcomings, the film is worth a watch for its powerful portrayal of the two tenacious Malawian women at its heart. Their story is an important reminder that we are all part of a tightly-knit global community, and our decisions can profoundly affect those thousands of miles away.
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[photo courtesy of GIANT PICTURES]