Our present moment is saturated in dystopian, apocalyptic fantasies of the future.
As the late Mark Fisher said, “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” We can envision a thousand ways that humanity might destroy itself and the rest of the world, but positive visions of the future remain severely lacking in comparison. Why is that?
The Dark Ages led to the Renaissance. Feudalism led to capitalism. No era remains stagnant forever. But there’s an invisible meme in our culture today that says capitalism is the greatest economic idea humanity has ever invented and it will never be surpassed. That’s why a thousand dystopian visions of the future all imagined that capitalism stayed the same, our economic paradigm never evolved… and then the world was eventually destroyed. Could the two be connected? Is our failure to imagine something better than capitalism going to be what actually leads to “the bad ending” for humanity?
What this points to, in our view, is a crisis of imagination.
Humans at heart are storytellers, and we enact the stories we tell ourselves. As we’ve written before, our culture is enacting a story that’s destroying the world. If humanity is going to unlock “the good ending,” we’ve got to imagine it first. We’ve got to imagine ten thousand localized versions of it. That’s how things change.
Fortunately, visions of a more beautiful, compassionate, regenerative future already exist. But since they’re not being broadcast daily on the evening news, we’ve got to dedicate a little more energy towards broadcasting them ourselves. This is what this list of films is for. These films decided that the apocalypse is canceled. Climate change is canceled. Biodiversity loss is canceled. A comeback of this scale has never been attempted before, but that’s why it’s going to work. Ya dig? The people in these films aren’t listening to the folks that say it’s too late. They’re imagining the future they want, not the future they’re afraid of, and they’re bringing that future into being.
Whether we’re ultimately successful is not the point, and beyond anyone’s ability to truly know. The point is that our true nature calls us to choose determination over defeat, and resilience over despair.
We hope these films inspire the former – that place in your heart that knows a better world *is* possible, and is ready to make it happen.