Director Darren Aronofsky on Monday praised 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg in an op-ed for The New York Times, saying the teen activist has provided imagery that illustrates the stakes of the crisis.
“Whether they originate in tragedy or not, powerful images tend to show us what we’ve tried to ignore. Their rawness slices through the haze and forces us to reckon with our own history,” Aronofsky wrote, citing images such as a man jumping from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 or Phan Thi Kim Phuc, a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl, fleeing a napalm attack in 1972.
The “Black Swan” director wrote that the images of Thunberg in the early days of her school strikes for environmental action in 2018 held similar power.
“I’m certain that future generations will look at the first few photographs of Ms. Thunberg — dwarfed in a yellow raincoat, calm but defiant, refusing to take no for an answer — as a representation of the early days of a major cultural shift. I have no doubt that she will become an icon for the climate crisis — if she isn’t one already,” he wrote.
Aronofsky says he thinks that visceral or jarring images of the effects of climate change have failed to translate to meaningful action in the past.
However, he writes, “Ms. Thunberg has brought the conversation on climate change out of the theoretical. She has made it human, tangible and urgent. Her protest is stark in its simplicity and brilliant in its lack of frills; she’s merely telling the truth. And for the first time, it feels as if people are listening.”