Life Off Grid

January 18, 2016

Review, Theatrical Leave a Comment

"Jonathan Taggart's documentary journey discovers that living 'off grid' comes with a cost."
life off grid

Life Off Grid

Tanya Doyle
Year: 2014
Rating: PG
Director: Jonathan Taggart

Jonathan Taggart

Distributor: Fighting Chance Films
Released: TUGG
Running Time: 86 minutes
Worth: $15.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

…curious and alluring…

Off-grid in usual terms is being disconnected from the supply of electricity and public utilities, whereas life off grid is about being connected by our shared responsibility for the planet by being self-sustaining and openly challenged by the absence of the comforts and ease technology provides.

Jonathan Taggart’s documentary uncovers his journey from 2011 to 2013 through 200 off-grid communes across Canada that have embraced this philosophy, having adapted survival skills long lost in a society reliant on non-renewable resources where the ever-growing threat of climate change is alive and real.

Originally wary that these communities may be attractive primarily to the recluse, bringing to mind the soul-searching spirit of Into the Wild; these communities are in fact remarkably social and made up of ex-corporate and ex-government employees who previously felt trapped in a cycle of unethical advancement. There is a subtle doomsday-esque undertone as if in preparation for the inevitable depletion of coal and destruction of our eco-system, but far from presenting us with a dystopian future this way of life is about reinventing today’s attitudes for the wellbeing of future generations.

Yet life-off-grid can come at a cost, as solar power is certainly not free, one resident stating that “it’s like paying for 30 years energy up front”. On the other hand, there are residents who do not consider reaching sustainability with thousands of dollars to be progress. Cost aside, the learning curve is said to be vertical for someone leaving the city, as you need to know all trades including plumbing, wiring, waste management and farming.

Devoid of sensationalising the ‘isolated north’, Taggart fairly considers the small Canadian towns, which, insulated sun ovens and collected rainwater tanks aside, are otherwise like any township. Breathtaking landscapes backed by an exquisite soundtrack leave this way of life curious and alluring to the viewer, left pondering that, “everyone comes with a dream, the ones that stay – change their dream”.


Host a screening of Life Off Grid here


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