Life in the Woods

This event has now ended. You can watch a recording of the conversation on our YouTube channel.


A week-long online film event about our relationship with nature

Featuring a short film by Lucile Hadžihalilović, cult documentary The Moon and the Sledgehammer, and a discussion of a plan for a sustainable future on Earth

An ICO Cinema of Ideas event in partnership with No Planet B

Watch the trailer


About the Event

“Man will invent things to destroy himself”

– Mr. Page, The Moon and the Sledgehammer

We have inherited an incredible natural world. But now our planet is on the brink of extinction, and we must make radical and immediate changes to the way we live before it is too late.

Presented as two films and a live conversation, Life in the Woods celebrates the wonder which can be found in nature and charts a path towards a more sustainable way of living.

First, Lucile Hadžihalilović’s short De Natura (2018) offers a beautifully-crafted view of our relationship with wild nature from the perspective of a child’s eye: one which sees both its wonder and its harshness.

Then, in the endlessly fascinating The Moon and Sledgehammer (1971) we see that beyond the Page family’s eccentricities their words hint at a wise scepticism about modern society’s relationship with the planet and its attitude towards the land, mechanisation and technology.

Alongside these two wonderful films we will be joined on Tuesday 13 September by Drew Pendergrass and Troy Vettese, authors of the recently-published Half-Earth Socialism, to discuss the book and their plan for a future free from extinction, climate change and pandemics.

This event is available to watch worldwide. Book your ticket here.


Unbuilding the World: A conversation with Half-Earth Socialism authors Drew Pendergrass and Troy Vettese

6:30pm – 7:30pm BST, Tuesday 13 September

Drew Pendergrass and Troy Vettese, authors of Half-Earth Socialism

“If others can see it as I have seen it, then it may be called a vision rather than a dream.”

– William Morris, News from Nowhere

Join us for a live conversation with Half-Earth Socialism authors Drew Pendergrass and Troy Vettese about the steps that need to be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reverse the effects of climate change, on both an individual and structural level.

Their plan for a sustainable future includes: reduced individual energy consumption and a switch to renewable energy; mass rewilding of the Earth’s land and seas to absorb carbon emissions, support the planet’s biodiversity and halt the current catastrophic levels of species extinction; a widespread uptake in vegan diets, to reduce carbon emissions and use the Earth’s available land more efficiently; and a global socialist planning system, to manage the planet’s resources and the world’s activities.

This conversation will be hosted by Julia Brow, founder and programmer of No Planet B – an arts organisation inspiring environmental activism through film and culture.

After the event, a recording will be available to watch on the platform until Friday 16 September.

About Drew Pendergrass

Drew Pendergrass is a PhD student in Environmental Engineering at Harvard University. His current research uses satellite, aircraft and surface observations of the environment to correct supercomputer models of the atmosphere. His environmental writing has been published in Harper’s, The Guardian, Jacobin, and Current Affairs.

About Troy Vettese

Troy Vettese is an environmental historian and a Max Weber fellow at the European University Institute, where he is affiliated with the ECOINT project. He studies the history of environmental economics, energy-systems, and animal life under capitalism. His writing has appeared in Bookforum, New Left Review, The Guardian, n+1 and many more publications.

About Julia Brow

Julia Brow is a film programmer and cultural producer from London, based in Manchester. She is the founder of No Planet B, an arts organisation inspiring environmental activism through film & culture.

With thanks to Verso Books

Read Half-Earth Socialism
Play the Half-Earth Socialism video game


Film Programme

Streaming 9 – 16 September

De Natura [Nature]

(dir. Lucile Hadžihalilović, 2018, France/Romania, 6’)

A peaceful and cheerful walk taken by two little girls in the middle of nature, away from the eyes of grown-ups. But the joy gradually starts disappearing and the reverie becomes nostalgia, while at the edge of the road, among the rotting summer fruit, faint faces appear. The cycle of life does not diminish the magic of the world, no matter whether it is lit by the moon or by the sun.

The Moon and the Sledgehammer

(dir. Philip Trevelyan, 1971, UK, 65’)

The Pages live in a ramshackle house situated in six acres of woodland in the heart of the commuter-belt, 20 miles south of London. The trees cut the Pages off completely from the outside world and, isolated in their island-clearing, they let the 20th century slowly pass them by.

It is a simple life without running water, electricity or gas. Peter and Jim earn what little money the family needs by doing casual repairs to tractors and farm-machinery in the neighbourhood. Machinery is the permanent obsession of Mr. Page and his sons. The wood is littered with rusty iron carcasses: parts of old engines, disembowelled car-bodies, a pile of gigantic spanners. Most spectacular are the archaic steam traction-engines which the men tinker with and drive thunderously about the woodland to no apparent purpose. The girls, too, have their special preoccupations: Nancy sits at her embroidery; Kathy tends her garden and plays comforting tunes on the harmonium in the house, or on the piano rotting away outside.

As the film unfolds each member of the family spells out their personal fantasies and philosophies to the camera. For all their prodigious skills, they seem at first eccentric, their ideas tangential to our own. But as the film progresses it emerges that old Mr. Page’s words of wisdom are more true today than ever, as he warns us about our attitude to the land, to food, to work and most of all – to having time to live.

Praise for The Moon and the Sledgehammer:

“Mr. Page scoffs at these imaginative ramblings [of the moon landing], less because he’s uninterested in the heavens than because he sees more that’s worth cherishing in his wooded oasis.”

– S. James Snyder, Time Out New York

“Over an hour, a remarkable vision of genuine freedom is explored, far from the constraints of conventional ways of being.”

– Gareth Evans, Time Out

“In its quiet, eccentric fashion, The Moon and the Sledgehammer challenges the accepted values of sanity and society”

– David Robinson, The Financial Times

The Moon and the Sledgehammer: the cult film about a Sussex family who hid in a forest

– Patrick Barkham, The Guardian

Read more about The Moon and the Sledgehammer at:


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De Natura and The Moon and the Sledgehammer will be available with descriptive subtitles. The live conversation on Tuesday 13 September will be live-captioned.

A recording of the conversation will be available to view on the platform from 7:30pm BST on Tuesday 13 September until 11:59pm BST on Friday 16 September. This event is available to view worldwide.


Thank you to Katy MacMillan, Eva Pervolovici, Radu Pervolovici, Catherine Smiles and Selina Robertson for their support.