Joaquin Phoenix stars in a new short film that centers on the near-critical stage of the climate crisis the planet is facing. The two-minute short, made in partnership between Extinction Rebellion and Amazon Watch, premiered Thursday at Mobilize Earth.
Guardians of Life features Phoenix as an emergency room doctor; he and his fellow medical professionals — including Rosario Dawson, Matthew Modine and the Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. — are attempting to revive a dying patient.
The patient’s heart stops beating and Phoenix’s doctor declares time of death, but one nurse — played by Q’orianka Kilcher, in indigenous makeup under her face mask — manages to revive the patient, revealed to be the planet Earth.
“It’s really a call to action,” Phoenix said of the film in a statement. “I did it to raise awareness about the meat and dairy industry’s effect on climate change. The fact is we are clear cutting and burning rainforests and seeing the negative effects of those actions worldwide. People don’t realize there’s still time, but only if we act now and make sweeping changes to our consumption. We can’t wait for governments to solve these problems for us. We can’t wait until the election to try to make these changes. We have a personal responsibility to make changes in our own lives and act now.”
Phoenix has used his Joker awards circuit as a forum to protest the meat and dairy industries, with the actor even attending a vigil for pigs outside a Los Angeles slaughterhouse immediately after winning at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The actor also used his BAFTA speech to attack the practice.
Kilcher added: “As an indigenous actress I feel a strong responsibility to use my public platform to help amplify the voices who are seldom heard including all the indigenous defenders around the world who are the protectors of our Mother Earth, the Amazon Rainforest, and all the biodiversity and animals.”
Guardians of Life is the first in a 12-part series of short films planned by Extinction Rebellion and Mobilize Earth. “Each will tell a story about the most pressing issues facing the human species as we move into what most scientists, politicians and the public see as the make or break decade for the survival of life on the planet,” the organizations said of the series.