I Want to Breathe Sweet Air (with Spanish subtitles)

Log Line:

"I Want to Breathe Sweet Air" a film poem in three parts, is a terribly beautiful indictment of careless land development and the impact of climate change on the natural environment.

Brief synopsis:

“I Want to Breathe Sweet Air,” a film poem in three parts with acclaimed writer Lucy English, is a stunning and terribly beautiful visual indictment of careless land development and the impact of climate change on the natural environment, incorporating footage shot specifically for this project as well as footage from the vast library accumulated by Outlier Moving Pictures during six years of documenting environmental destruction.

Text of the poem:


Remnants (Part I)

Take me far away from here
to a grass meadow in the Basin.
The same flowers grow in the buffer zone
near the nuclear power plant
as the flowers in my great-grandmother’s farm.
Gallardias and Gauras.

The same birds sing in the Texas oaks;
Lark Sparrows, Warblers, Bunting.
I want to breathe the pure sweet air
rolling down from the rocky hill
and watch gold stratus clouds and cirrus strands
reflected in the reeded lake.

Along the Freeway (Part II)

I want to leave this concrete land.
On the freeway outside Austin
at one point I saw vent pipes
coming out of a hill, and that was landfill.
The landfill surrounded by starter homes.
I looked for trash along the creeks.

But micro stuff doesn’t get filtered out
in the laundry wash. Deep mining digs up the undisturbed.
The machines strip off the soil to thirty feet.
Is there anywhere we haven’t touched?
We thought there was no life in the earth’s deep crust.
The Permian Basin holds the world’s most oil.

By the river (Part III)

We’ve known all this for seventy years.
In Austin behind the Taco restaurant
by Lady Bird Lake the homeless are bedding down.
In the shallows the water foams. There’s plastic bottles,
beer cans, dirty towels and shoes.
I’ve intruded into what substitutes for homes.

Take me far away from here.
I want to breathe cool sweet air
and listen to the Black Throated Blue Warbler’s song
and smell the dry wind from the rocky hill,
and walk through prairie flowers to the lake
and sink my fingers in the mud
and wipe the mud across my face.

Spanish translation of “I Want to Breathe Sweet Air” kindly provided by Eduardo Yague.

  • Pamela Falkenberg
  • Jack Cochran
  • Lucy English
  • Pamela Falkenberg
  • Jack Cochran
    Editing and sound design
  • Pamela Falkenberg
    Production design and cinematography
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Other
  • Genres:
    Poetry film, environmental film
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 15, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    4K and 2K digital video
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director - Pamela Falkenberg, Jack Cochran