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WIREs Clim Change
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Cli‐fi on the screen(s): patterns in the representations of climate change in fictional films

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Fictional works about climate change, or cli‐fi, have been hailed as a new genre. As a complement to previous WIREs studies of novels and plays, this article focuses on cli‐fi films, providing an overview of some 60 films, including major theatrical releases, smaller festival films, and made‐for‐TV movies. Of the many possible impacts of climate change predicted by scientists, this study finds that filmmakers have focused on extreme weather events and the possibility of Earth slipping into a new ice age. These choices reflect filmmakers’ predispositions more than any scientific consensus and thus demonstrate the challenge that cli‐fi films pose to climate change communicators. Finally, noting the recent emergence of films that parody concerns about climate change or that depict attempts to mitigate its causes or ameliorate its effects as possibly more disastrous than climate change itself, this study recommends that researchers in the humanities and social sciences look beyond The Day After Tomorrow, which has received far more attention than any other film. WIREs Clim Change 2016, 7:43–64. doi: 10.1002/wcc.381 This article is categorized under: Trans‐Disciplinary Perspectives > Humanities and the Creative Arts

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