In 2004, a baker’s dozen of grandmothers from indigenous nations around the globe met out of a shared concern for the earth. They formed an alliance, called the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, and traveled the globe—-the Amazon rainforest, the mountains of Mexico, North America, and at a private meeting with the Dalai Lama in India—-to pray and share their vision for terrestrial healing. Director Carol Hart documents the grandmothers’ journey in her film For the Next 7 Generations, titled after an Iroquois proverb that asks us to consider in every deliberation the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations. The grandmothers’ loving relationship with one another transcends culture, religion, and tradition and is by far the most interesting aspect of their union. Yet the filmmaker instead photographs their journey as if she’s the hired videographer on a senior- center vacation, sending each traveler home with a souvenir CD. We see the cool places they go, the cute interactions maybe, and even a quickly resolved tussle with the Italian police outside the Vatican. But beyond those scenes, there’s no discernible story or character development nor thematic exploration in this 88 minute documentary. Perhaps it would’ve been better told in half the time, or less.
For the Next 7 Generations screens tonight at 7 p.m. at the National Geographic Museum as part of the All Roads Film Festival. Tickets are $8 for National Georgraphic Society members, seniors, and students. General admission is $10.