An Inconvenient Screening of an Important Sequel

I saw An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Monday night at a San Francisco Jewish Film Festival screening at the Castro. It’s a powerful and important film. But for the average ticket holder, much of the event was a mess.

The big attraction: Al Gore live on stage. And yes, he was wonderful. But the way the Festival and Paramount Pictures handled the event made ticket holders feel like lowly peasants. I don’t know to what degree security caused the problems.

When I arrived at the Castro nearly an hour before the 7:30 show time, the line was already around the corner. We weren’t allowed in until 7:35.

I’ve commented before about vast blocks of reserved seats at major festival screenings, but this was like no other. As near as I could tell, all the seats on the ground floor were reserved. So I headed for the balcony. (I hate watching movies from a balcony.)

The Castro has two staircases leading to the balcony. One of them was blocked. A mass of angry ticketholders surged up the single accessible staircase. (I assume that if a fire had broken out, we would have been allowed to use both staircases.)

The show began around 8:10 with the usual introductions from two festival directors, two directors, and one former Vice President. The movie itself started around 8:30.

And it was worth the hassle.

The original Inconvenient Truth was about the horrible things coming our way. An Inconvenient Sequel focuses on fixing the problem. We see Al Gore visiting places ravaged by flood and draught. We see him meeting with national leaders and working to make India’s new electric grid cleaner. He only occasionally comes onstage and lectures an audience, and when he does it’s not about the coming horrors, but about how to change peoples’ minds. The movie makes you want to get up and do something. Unfortunately, people who really need to see it won’t.

I give An Inconvenient Sequel an A.

After the film, Gore and directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shank came onstage for a Q&A. Here are some highlights, edited for clarity and brevity:

  • On how Gore remains hopeful?: I grew up in the south. The resistance to ending discrimination was even more ferocious than what we’re facing now. We’ve been here before. We have overcome before.
  • Truth can turn into power. When the most bigoted individual finally allows him or herself to see that the other is like them, they open their heart to the reality that we’re all basically the same.
  • The most vulnerable people on Earth are the next generation. I really deeply believe that we can rise above our limitations.
  • The directors on making the film: We needed to follow this guy around; see the film through his eyes. We didn’t want to do another slideshow.
  • On visiting the Arctic: You’re looking at a wonder of the world, and it’s melting before your eyes.
  • Gore on Trump: I tried very hard to keep him in the Paris agreement. I thought I could change him. I was wrong. But the rest of the world redoubled their commitment. It was almost like they were saying “We’ll show you, Donald Trump!”
  • The stone age did not end because of a shortage of stones. The fossil fuel age will not end with the shortage of fossil fuels.

I was not able to stay though the entire Q&A session.

This was the only An Inconvenient Sequel screening at the Festival. But the film will open in theaters on August 4. I’ll have a full review up before then.