Elemental finished its run at the Austin Film Festival with a second showing at the Austin Convention Center. The documentary follows three people dedicating their lives to pressing environmental issues. Eriel Deranger of Alberta, Canada, fighter against the continued commercialization of the Alberta Tar Sands, is the heart of the film as she bridges environmental abuse with the abuse of indigenous populations. Rajendra Singh’s work in India cleaning up the Ganges River is similarly human-centric. Singh must plead and at times exhort a population that has treated India’s ‘mother’ like its toilet toilet. Last and maybe least, Jay Harmon fights global warming in Australia using and accelerating nature’s own systems.
While the three storylines do not necessarily tie in beyond their most basic inspirations and worldviews, director Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee achieves a nice rhythm that established connectivity through pacing and editing. Not much else is needed for a film so beautifully shot and unafraid to show the weaknesses of its protagonists. The content is heartbreaking, informative, and compelling as each subject faces personal limitations, immanent failure, and public doubt. Another good nature doc that portrays individuals brave and passionate enough to fight impossibly powerful forces.