Sunday 22 June 2014

A Dangerous Game - film review

A Dangerous Game is the much anticipated follow up to You've Been Trumped, the documentary about Donald Trump's plans to build a golf course on a sensitive and rare sand dune system in Aberdeenshire (you can read my review of that film here).

A Dangerous Game continues from where You've Been Trumped left off and also takes in the wider story of how exclusive private golf courses across the world cause huge environmental and social issues.

The film isn't anti-golf, one of the film-maker's uncles is interviewed about the public golf courses he has always played on. Rather the film attacks large scale, exclusive clubs that destroy local environments and charge huge amounts of money for outsiders to come and play golf.

As well as the Trump course in Aberdeenshire, the film centres on the plans to build a golf course on an arid hill overlooking the beautiful Croatian town of Dubrovnik. Local residents called for a referendum on the golf course and 85% of them voted against the golf course. This was dismissed by the local mayor, because he claimed that not enough people had voted, despite the fact that more Dubrovnik residents had voted in the referendum than in the European Elections. Construction is going ahead despite local oppositition and despite the fact that the arid mountain will need huge amounts of water to irrigate the golf course, pontentially depriving local people of water for domestic and agricultural uses. The golfer Greg Norman, who designed the course was not available for interview for the film.

What is happening in Dubrovnik reflects what is happening across the world. Many golf courses are being built in arid areas. A statistic was quoted in the film stating that golf courses use as much water for irrigation and to maintain their water features as is used as drinking water by 80% of the world's population (I find this so mind blogging that I really want to double check that). Often the courses are using drinking water, one Las Vegas course shown in the documentary ships drinking water in from across the USA.Many of these golf courses fail, for example the Tiger Woods golf course in Dubai is being reclaimed by the surrounding desert.

The political corruption surrounding the Dubrovnik course is replicated elsewhere. The Scottish Government overturned local political opposition to Trump's proposals for the course in Aberdeenshire and forced the development through. When the local residents most affected by the development (and effects include local rights of way being closed off, landbanks being built round people's homes to hide them from the golfers, water supplies being cut off for three years, police treating locals and the film-maker aggressively) complained to their local MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) he didn't even visit them and barely responded to their complaints. Their local MSP is Alex Salmond, the first minister of the Scottish Parliament (and the leader of the campaign for Scottish Independence), who declined to be interviewed for this film.

Michael Forbes, the man who spearheaded the Aberdeenshire campaign against Trump was awarded the Scot of the Year award at the Spirit of Scotland awards 2012.

Donald Trump campaigned against the siting of a wind farm off the coast of Aberdeenshire in sight of the Trump golf course. The windfarm is going ahead and Trump has given up on building the second golf course he had planned for that stretch of Aberdeenshire coast, which means that that stretch of the fragile dune system is saved (at least for now). Instead he is turning his energy and money to a golf investment in Ireland, though it seems that his expansion plans there may be held back by a rare snail, which lives in the area round the course.

A Dangerous Game is showing as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival:

2035, 24 June and 1530, 28 June both in Cineworld.

You can read my previous reviews of the film festival so far by following the links below:

My Name is Salt.


The Owners.

Legacy, Mistory and Language - a review of N: The Madness of Reason; A House in Berlin and Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

Ancient Temples, Vertigo and Film-making - a review of Manakamana and La ultima pelicula.

Disclaimer: I have a press pass for the Edinburgh International Film Festival amd am attending free press screenings of these films. 

 A reminder that I'm running a blog giveaway to win a pdf of my book Bougainvillea Dancing, poetry, prose and photos inspired by Malawi. Find out more and enter here.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Hey Juliet.
I don't play golf, but I live in a condominium on the 18th fairway of a golf course. The whole course surrounds a protected wetlands area were live fox, deer, beaver, and a plethora of birds.
That being said, I am certain the chemicals they put on the grass drain into the water. Not to mention the pollution from all the machinery that they use to tend the course.
One day I went out on my patio, and an errant golf ball missed my left temple by two seconds. The guy upstairs has bullet proof glass in his windows and patio door as they have been smashed so many times.
I hope that little Irish Snail prevails!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Maureen, it's great when golf courses are side by side with genuine protected areas for nature (and i know a lot of clubs genuinely do a lot for nature on the courses themselves, a couple of the Edinburgh golf courses are good places for birdwatching.) Yes the pesticides etc are another issue, which i should have mentioned in the review

Fur Everywhere said...

Wow, it sounds like this course is causing all sorts of problems. I had no idea golf courses used that much water, either. That's really astonishing!