Film and Everyday Eco-disasters


Film and Everyday Eco-disasters

Robin L. Murray and Joseph K. Heumann

240 pages
25 illustrations


June 2014


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

June 2014


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

June 2014


$50.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Eco-disasters such as coal-mining accidents, oil spills, and food-borne diseases appear regularly in the news, making them seem nearly commonplace. These ecological crises highlight the continual tensions between human needs and the environmental impact these needs produce. Contemporary documentaries and feature films explore environmental-human conflicts by depicting the consequences of our overconsumption and dependence on nonrenewable energy.

Film and Everyday Eco-disasters examines changing perspectives toward everyday eco-disasters as reflected in the work of filmmakers from the silent era forward, with an emphasis on recent films such as Dead Ahead, an HBO dramatization of the Exxon Valdez disaster; Total Recall, a science fiction action film highlighting oxygen as a commodity; The Devil Wears Prada, a comment on the fashion industry; and Food, Inc., a documentary interrogation of the food industry. The authors evaluate not only the success of these films as rhetorical arguments but also their rhetorical strategies. This interdisciplinary approach to film studies fuses cultural, economic, and literary critiques in articulating an approach to ecology that points to sustainable development as an alternative to resource exploitations and their associated everyday eco-disasters.

Author Bio

Robin L. Murray is a professor of English at Eastern Illinois University. Joseph K. Heumann is a professor emeritus of communication studies at Eastern Illinois University. Murray and Heumann are the coauthors of Ecology and Popular Film: Cinema on the Edge; That’s All Folks: Ecocritical Readings of American Animated Features (Nebraska, 2011); and Gunfight at the Eco-Corral: Western Cinema and the Environment.


“The authors’ grasp of historical and legal context is top-notch and the book consistently connects the issues and arguments represented in the films to their potential to inspire environmental activism in the viewer. . . . A broad-based, historically detailed overview of its fascinating and relevant central theme.”—Carter Soles, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Cinematic Ecodisasters and Our Basic Human Needs
Part 1: Human Approaches to the Ecology of Air, Water, and Clothing
1. At the Boiling Point: The Aesthetics of Atmospheric Pollution and Climate Change in Documentary and Feature Films
2. James Bond and Water Wars in Contemporary Film: A New Ecowarrior?
3. Ready to Wear? From Fashion to Environmental Justice
Part 2: Ecodocumentaries and the Rhetoric of Food Production
4. Contemporary Ecofood Films: The Documentary Tradition
5. Flipper? We’re Eating Flipper? Documenting Animals Rights and Environmental Ethics at Sea
Part 3: Negative Externalities of Housing and Energy Industries
6. Give Me Shelter: The Ecology of Homes and Homelessness
7. Activism in Mountaintop Removal Films: Turn Off the Lights for Sustainability
8. The Search for the “Golden Shrimp”: The Myth of Interdependence in Oil Drilling Films
Conclusion: Can the Film Industry and the Environmental Movement Mix?
Works Cited

Also of Interest