Anyone not interested in a "Kumbaya" moment at the movies, stop reading this.
In the documentary, “One Peace at a Time,” filmmaker Turk Pipkin asks Willie Nelson about two wolves pitted against each other, inside us: an envious, hateful, warring wolf and a compassionate, loving, peaceful wolf. The question is “Which wolf wins?” Willie Nelson knew the answer: “It's the one you feed.”
Documentary messages often drag under the weight of pessimism or preachiness. “One Peace at a Time” doesn't shunt reality aside. It calmly and practically walks down roads for fixing our mess of a world.
Better than his previous film, “Nobelity,” Pipkin shifts more of “One Peace at a Time” beyond the talking heads of Nobel Prize winners. His core images are children. His foundational point: all children have a right to clean water and nutrition and shelter. All children have a right to health care and education and opportunity.
At its heart, this film isn't about the intractable plight of millions with no dependable source of water nearby and not enough to eat from day to day. It's not a harangue about health care costing 20% of America's hugely endowed economy, compared with populations that routinely deal with such things as AIDS or malaria or fatal diarrhea.
At its heart, “One Peace at a Time” is about recognizing what Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams says: “There's nothing magical about change … care enough to take the first step … contribute to change on an issue you care about.” Improving the reality of millions of children in the world is as simple as doing something about it.
“Naïve,” you say, in the sarcastic way we refer to Kumbaya moments in our cynical world. “What effect could my small efforts have?” you ask, in the complex, long haul that is our lives.
“One Peace at a Time,” in its modest, well presented way, shows things that can be done, things that are being done. The effects are profound. The capacity to do more is at hand.