What a wonderful documentary is Jon Shenk’s The Island President, which just had its first viewing in North America here at the Telluride Film Festival. Beautifully shot, heartbreaking real, the film presents the everyday horror we’re all sort of living with: global warming is real and it feels like the end of everything. Though there probably isn’t a more hot-button issue, except maybe healthcare and abortion, the subject has been so politicized here the conversation has almost stopped. It’s stopped because most of us are hopeless. But it’s also stopped because, as Shenk told me during the Patron’s Brunch, it doesn’t have a world leader, not here in America anyway. It certainly has a leader, and a charismatic one, in Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives.
We first meet Nasheed as he’s making his plea to the global community to work together to help slow or stop global warming, which is now threatening to destroy his entire country. Nasheed makes a good subject because of his eternal optimism, as his wife puts it, but also his willingness to state things bluntly to anyone.