1. Title, director and release year?
- Blind Spot, Adolfo Doring, 2008

2. What is the central argument or narrative of the film?
- Oil consumption has exceeded oil discovery and reserves are being depleted quickly. Oil production will eventually have to decrease, even though it hasn’t since its initial use → change in oil production will change every sector of our economy (since we use oil for just about everything, including labor).
- Preoccupation with the daily routines of life blocks people from seeing the matrix of problems that surround every decision we make. Our society has gotten “good at responding to crises, [but] not so good at avoiding them.”

3. What sustainability problems does the film draw out?
- As implied by the title, the film draws out the issue of consumer unawareness. The many decisions we make on a daily basis affect a variety of sustainability problems ranging from air pollution to supporting exported labor and beyond. Essentially, our culture is dependent on oil and many of us are completely unaware of that fact.
- The film also draws out environmental and political sustainability problems in that societies are blowing up mountains and destroying nature in search of scarce oil all around the world, causing political battles and turmoil in poorer nations. There is also the issue of peak oil’s effect on ‘industrial agriculture,’ as in agriculture that depends on tractors, pesticides, and exportation (since farmlands have become isolated from densely populated regions).

4. What parts of the film did you find most persuasive and compelling? Why?
- The films use of numbers was very compelling. The statistics used grab audiences’ attention and portray the complexity and magnitude of the problem at hand. For instance, the idea that “If everyone consumed like the average American, we would need three planets to sustain us.” This speaks volumes to the way we are living.
- Also, the use of images and graphs makes it easier for the audience to comprehend the message, as peak oil can be a difficult concept to grasp for many. The subject of peak oil is one that often goes undiscussed and I enjoyed that this film took the time to explain what it was and what it would mean for our society specifically. In my opinion, the film does an excellent job depicting how an oil shortage would impact the globe.

5. What parts of the film were you not compelled or convinced by?
- At certain points, the film seemed a little too ‘gloom and doom’ and it took away from the hopefulness for the possibility of change. It is one thing to stress the importance of making change, and another to question the future existence of humanity. It would have been better to suggest alternatives or perhaps touch on the societies that have managed to make progress on the peak oil issue by transitioning to alternative sources of fuel and production materials.

6. What additional information does this film compel you to seek out? Where do you want to dig deeper and what connections do you want to make with other issues, factors, problems, etc.?
- I was compelled to find out to what extent our government is addressing the peak oil issue. I am aware that the United States is one of the largest importers of oil in the world, and we have been slow to adopt alternative energy practices. The film lacked a political/policy component that would have been nice to know, as far as where we stand on the issue politically and what changes in policy would aid in moving towards sustainable practices.

7. What audiences does the film best address? What kind of imagination is fostered in viewers? Do you think the film is likely to change the way viewers think about and act on environmental problems?
- The film best addresses audiences who are unaware of the implications of peak oil. I would suggest showing this film to high school students as a way of warning them about the oil shortage to come (in their near future) and inform them of the changes society needs to make to ensure their future is not as heavily dependent on oil as we are presently.

8. What kinds of action or points of intervention are suggested by the film?
- The film suggests, above all, a change in behavior on the part of consumers and government. By depicting the matrix of problems an oil shortage would have on our daily lives, Blind Spot encourages consumers to pay closer attention to their habitual actions and push their governments to seek out alternatives.

9. What could have been added to this film to enhance its environmental educational value?
- As mentioned above, it would have been nice to see where various governments stand on the peak oil issue as far as its severity and taking action in the near future. If governments have not acknowledged peak oil as an issue, the film could address why they have not done so and what that means for the rest of the world. In contrast, if governments have acknowledged peak oil as a problem and have begun making change, what have they done and is it working?

[posted April 19, 2010]