Saturday, February 10, 2018

A PhD student asks this website some questions about the rise of cli-fi novels and movies for her thesis: "The Representation of climate change in cinema, mainly post-apocalyptic, through the films 'The Day After Tomorrow' and 'Mad Max Fury Road'

THE MADONNA OF GLOBAL WARMING: a photo and caption by Yann Quero, sci-fi writer in France

A graduate student is doing her thesis on cli-fi novels and movies and she contacted me with some very good questions that she asked me to answer. I did, and maybe some of them will show up in her completed Phd thesis:

FIRST her introduction to me
>>>> I am a French student in media and I prepare a Ph.D on "The Representation of climate change in cinema, mainly post apocalyptic, through the films 'The Day After Tomorrow' and 'Mad Max Fury Road' as well as on the term "Cli Fi" that you coined, in order to explain my work. During my research I found your website "" and that you were the person at the origin of this term that we find on the internet to talk about a new genre of films.
>>>> Therefore, I would like to know if it would not mind you to answer some of my questions about "Cli Fi" in cinema, so that I can put it in my research? Your name will of course be quoted in my work if you do not have any objections. I think that your help would be very hepful for my work.
>>>> Please let me know if you agree and I will try to send you as soon as possible my questions.
>>>> Thank you for the attention you would have kindly lent to my request.
>>>> Yours sincerely

1. Last time when you answered my questions aout films labelled 'Cli-Fi' you wrote that it might be any people who decide to call them like that and among them film critics.
I find it interesting because it means that film critics play an important role in the naming and labeling of films. So, it means that if you haven't coined 'Cli-Fi', film critics would have had to choose another genre to define the films that deal with climate change. And so these films would have been categorised as Sci-Fi or disaster films or anything else. But because you came up with that new genre, film critics now use it. So, my question is:

- ‘Cli-Fi’ is a new emerging subgenre of Sci-Fi with the accession of more and more films dealing with climate change. Is the creation of genre and subgenre endless with all the new subjects appearing in cinema?



Thank you very much for your answers and for your help. Can I come to you if I have other questions or anything to ask you? 
By the way, your blogspot is really great and sure is very hepful for my research.

Hello Dan: First of all, thank you so much for having accepted and for your enthusiasm, I really do appreciate. Please find my questions below this message and feel free to ask me if there is something wrong or unclear about it. The questions are in English because my studies are in English and so I have to write my Ph.D in English. Also, please pardon my mistakes if there are so. Take the time you need to answer them.

I quickly checked out the different websites you sent me and I will go through them deeper right away.
Once again, thank you so very much for your help and for the stuff about your work (both in French and in English).
I can give you a follow -since I saw you have Twitter as well- to thank you!


3. MORE QUESTIONS: with my answers to her:

> 1)Do you consider 'Cli-Fi' films the same way you consider 'Cli-Fi' books? If not, in what ways are they different from each other?
1. Same. Yes, different mediums, printed page / digital film on large screen with sound and color, but both novels and movies can raise awareness of climate issues using emotions
> 2)Today, 'Cli-Fi' genre is a new emerging genre in cinema with films like Snowpiercer, Mad Max, The Revenant, Interstellar or Blade Runner in the past couple of years. In your opinion, what makes these films 'Cli-Fi'? Is it because of the sub-text/metaphor in them?
2. Yes. Exactly.
> 3)With all these kind of films that are released and that are presented as 'Cli-Fi', isn't it much harder today to differenciate easier films that are really 'Cli-Fi', with somehow a real meassage/a real metaphor of climate change, by presenting events or actions that are relevent (like Christopher Nolan and Interstellar) from just blockbusters movies (like recently Geostorm) that just put the stress on CGI and survival without any real intentions to sensibilise/warn the audience?
3. There are going to be good and bad cli-fi movies. Geostorm was so bad it was good. Same with Day after tomorrow.
> 4)How important is the term 'Cli' in 'Cli-Fi' films?
4. The term is not important in the films. The term is just a platform for novelists and film directors to use to present their ideas to readers/ viewers.
> 5)You coined the words 'Cimate' with 'Fiction' to get 'Cli-Fi'. This term automatically makes us think of 'Sci-Fi'. Films that deal with ecology often take place in a post-apocalyptic world.
> Do you think that it is mandatory for them to take place in a dystopian world? And so, what makes these films more 'Cli' than any other genres like 'Sci' for instance?
5, it not mandatory for clifi movies or novels to take place in dystopian worlds. They can also take place in the past, or the present, like the novel Flight Behavior by barbara kingsolver. CLI fi movies can be dydtopian or utopian. Both are useful.
> 6)Do you think that 'Cli-Fi' films are all sensitive to climate change?
,6. They should be. I hope so.
> 7)Before the past couple of years and the arrival of many 'Cli-Fi' films that we have just seen before, it seems that there were not that much of them, apart from The Day After Tomorrow (in 2004), and that the main genre was the documentary. One can think of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth or Leonardo DiCaprio's 11th Hour, ten years ago. Some of them were criticised because of the way they presented our actions on the earth negatively and also because they did not give any clues to change our habits and our way of living. They were considered pessimistic and lesson givers.
> Do you think 'Cli-Fi' films have to be different (from documentaries) in their message and depiction? and from the moment on these films are considered to be 'Cli-Fi', isn't it reluctant for the audience to go see a film that might be lesson giver?
7. Good question. For me it is about storytelling, involving emotions. A good movie can draw you into the emotions of living in a climate changing world, with the power of 1959 movie On the Beach. 


4. THE LAST TIME we spoke online i forgot to ask you these questions:

1,  Do you think that it is mandatory for Cli-Fi films not to talk directly about climate change and use a sub-text rather than directly confronting the audience with the issue of climate change?
*** Yes, cli-fi storytelling is more dynamic and useful if climate change is a subtext of the story, like in Barbara Kingsolver's novel Flight Behavior and other novels we now call cli-fi. Movie storytelling is not a documentary but an emotional story with a cast of characters. So climate change should be a subtext yes. Good question.
2.  When films are released under the label 'Cli-Fi', who decides to call them like that?
2. It could be the decision of the PR/marketing department of the film studio,...or the producer...or the director...or the film critics who review the movie for newspapers or websites.
I hope these answers help. My door is always open for more. Anytime.


5. Last time we talked, I forgot to ask you some questions. So if it does not mind you, please find them below:

- Do you think that it is mandatory for Cli-Fi films not to talk directly about climate change and use a sub-text rather than directly confronting the audience with the issue of climate change?
- When films are released under the label 'Cli-Fi', who decides to call them like that?

Once again, thank you for your help!!

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