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X Trillion review – all-women voyage to the ‘Pacific garbage patch’ packs a rousing punch | Movies

CFounded in 2014 by environmental activist Emily Penn, the nonprofit eXXpedition has made headlines by conducting all-female voyages into remote waters where members have witnessed first-hand the staggering scale of marine plastic pollution. Filmmaker Eleanor Church joined the project in 2018 as part of a multidisciplinary group that sailed 3,000 miles into the North Pacific Gyre, a notorious “garbage patch” where marine plastic has been accumulating since the 1950s.

The arduous journey is fraught with both heartache and beauty. There are moments of pure wonder as the awed women gaze at pods of dolphins swimming through the blue waters. But those same shimmering waves are also carrying countless pieces of plastic, irreparably damaging existing ecosystems. Throughout the three-week journey, the crew took samples from the ocean waters, revealing shocking densities of microplastics. Their findings suggest that as many as 500,000 pieces of debris could be carried per square kilometer of the North Pacific Gyre’s surface.

Church’s film succinctly conveys the daily challenges the crew face, many of whom are unaware of the reality of seafaring. But in its focus on the uniqueness of their experience, the film feels a little short on science. The use of music is particularly explicit, with the crew’s conversations occasionally drowned out by background music. Additionally, while a press release about the film highlights the international makeup of the crew, the camera seems to show a large proportion of white members from the Northern Hemisphere on the voyage. This is an important issue given how much the environmental movement has contributed to the safety of seafarers and the protection of the environment. It has long been criticized as a space that favors white people.These are points of interest that Church’s documentary, while thought-provoking, neglects to explore further.