Communing with the Natural World  The voice of Liam Neeson guides viewers through the scenic landscapes of ‘Love Thy Nature’

By Caden Sullivan

The film ‘Love Thy Nature’ encourages people to reconnect with the natural world

Monday marks the halfway-point for Santa Monica College’s Green Screen Series, but don’t worry! There’s still time to enjoy three feature films for no cost at all.

This week’s film “Love Thy Nature” is a documentary directed by filmmaker/nature therapy guide Sylvie Rokab and narrated by Academy Award nominee Liam Neeson about the human disconnection from the natural world. Exploring the natural environment, technological world and society’s interweaving of the two, the film uses real-world scenes to insist on a more sustainable perspective.

“Love Thy Nature” was filmed in 2014 and explores a holistic view of the world where humans are interconnected with that nature. Neeson represents “the voice of Sapiens” as slow-motion footage of animals, plants and people unfold. Besides that message, however, the film’s context is as important as its content. Six years later, environmental problems such as raging wildfires and rising floods have only grown more difficult, and people in quarantine are more disconnected with the outdoors than ever.

Rokab understands the current crisis and reason to stay indoors, but she does not believe it makes us unable to connect with nature. She says, “It’s a shift in perception arriving in our bodies. When we do that, whether it’s being completely connected with that glass of water, cutting that cilantro and smelling your fingers, the taste of delicious food and being really present with it, or the touch of a loved one’s hand or even our own hand, all of those things are connecting with nature and ourselves.”

Emphasizing the natural experiences in our own homes, Rokab believes that this recognition of life and nature is what will drive us to a better future. And although environmental activists are still struggling in shifting the public’s perception six years later, Rokab has a reassuring message for them, too.

Conceptualizing “Love Thy Nature” as an eighteen-year-old in Brazil, Rokab faced a number of obstacles in producing the documentary — from writer’s block to the 2008 recession. Through her years of writing and filming, the main lesson she learned is one that applies to struggling environmentalists today: “When we have a dream, even if you have to take a different path for a while or it doesn’t work out immediately, that dream can still manifest itself.”

Whether you’re a passionate environmentalist or simply a fan of Liam Neeson, the only requirements to watch “Love Thy Nature” are time and internet access. Visit https://www.smc.edu/community/global-citizenship/events/green-screen-series.php for a full schedule of films and simply log on at 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12, for admission.

Visit smc.edu/calendar or call (310) 434-4100 for SMC’s full event calendar.

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