In 1998, wildlife enthusiast and photographer Chris Packham had a remarkable encounter with the Orang Rimba, a tribe of hunter gatherers in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia. It was the first time he had ever seen people living in perfect harmony with their environment. One photograph in particular that Chris took, a picture of a young tribal girl, has since become immensely important to him as a barometer of how we are treating our planet. In this real-life detective story, with no clues as to her identity or whereabouts other than his original photograph, Chris sets off to Sumatra 20 years on to try to find her; the girl in the picture. Chris's search is further complicated because her tribe is nomadic and often cover vast distances on foot, and since he was last there, millions of hectares of her rainforest habitat has been destroyed. Piecing together the clues, Chris discovers to his horror that the girl's close-knit group of Orang Rimba was attacked not long after he met them, and a number of them killed. But was the girl among them? Chris travels into the heart of Sumatra and tries to discover the girl's fate by meeting the men who pulled the murdered tribespeople's bodies out of the river. On his way, he discovers just how much of Sumatra's once pristine rainforests have been replaced by palm oil plantations, palm oil which is in around 50% of the products we buy in our supermarkets. Chris learns some uncomfortable truths about how we are all in some way connected to deforestation.
Inspired by Robert Sullivan's New York Times bestselling book, RATS goes deep beneath the surface to explore the lives of man's greatest parasite. Oscar nominated director Morgan Spurlock unveils a new form of documentary horror storytelling, journeying around the world to bring viewers face to face with rats while delving into our complicated relationship with these creepy creatures. Taking us into the Rattus nests in ways never before captured on film, RATS dives deep into New York City's parks, subway tunnels, and sewers; venture to rice paddies in Cambodia and Vietnam where rats are caught and sold as food, cross worldly streets in India paroled by the revered Night Rat Killers, journey to English countryside where packs of terriers kill hundreds of rats per day, and look inside a New Orleans lab, where scientists are studying how flooding and abandoned neighborhoods are making rats more invasive than ever.
2016 • Environment