review by NoFishLeft
From the 17e till 27e of November 2010 the IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival) is held in Amsterdam. Last night I went to ‘into eternity’ a beautiful aesthetic, surreal, somewhat disturbing documentary about the legacy of nuclear waste.
In a desolated landscape in finland, the government is working on a 3 billion euro costing hiding place for nuclear waste. A place to protect our future generations from the toxic we produce. This immense tomb called ‘Onkalo’ (hiding place) will be build out of solid rock 500 meters under the ground, a place that supposedly should be save from any possible threats like earthquakes, volcanoes, wars or human economic instability. This mind-blowing project takes more than 100 years to build and will be finished in the 22th century.
Madsen the director of the film examines the possible implications and questions that rise when building a colossus tomb like this. He focus on how to build, protect and secure a structure that has to remains for at least 100.000 years. Is it even possible to build a structure that remains for more than 100.000 years? Is humanity capable to make this and how to warn future generations for this deathly tomb?
This intriguing documentary examines a very width range of questions about possible human evolutions. All breaks at the point that 100.000 years is far beyond imaging even for our brightest minds. In the end we can only assume what will happen in the future. Civilizations will fall, new ones will rise maybe on total different key pillars than our civilization now. How to warn these new possible human civilization in the far future? with language, symbols or maybe something as the painting the scream? How to warn them instead of creating curiosity of any future visitors that might seen it as a religious tomb. The engineers confess that the biggest threat will possibly lie in what they call ‘human intrusion.’
Where will the human race be in a 100, 1000 or even 10.000 years from now? The simple questions asked in this film and the honest answers by lawmakers, theologians, engineers makes this film powerful yet very disturbing. One of the serious options proposed is to try to forget this place, erase it from our human history, but than you have to be sure the structure and roaming earth has no flaws for the coming 100.000 years
Through focusing on this immense project this documentary really shows us the bigger picture of the unsolved problem we have with nuclear waste, a growing and inevitable problem. Our nuclear reactors maybe safer than ever, but the problem of nuclear waste grows. ‘Onkalo’ at this moment is the most high tech, safest way to store the toxic waste. But it will only store 1% of the current nuclear waste there is.
With the coming prognoses of more countries embracing nuclear power again it rise some very important unanswered questions. Politicians, policy makers and lobbyists who running a successful campaign for nuclear energy keeping the waste problem out of the debate. The world looks mostly focused on the safety of it nuclear reactors instead of focusing and bringing real solution on the inevitable toxic waste that comes along with it.
Madsen didn’t made this film as an activist, he isn’t, and that’s what makes the documentary even more powerful. His background as a conceptual artist makes this documentary a stunning aesthetic film. The visual shots fits perfect with the unreal upsetting reality of the film. In a poetic style he’s telling our far future generations about this ‘Onkalo’.
This documentary is a must see for everybody who thinks about nuclear energy as a real solution for our coming energy crisis. We can not make proper decisions with out asking ourselves some serious and needed questions about the waste it brings. You can’t talk about nuclear power, without talking about the big problem that nuclear waste brings for future generations.
Production year: 2010
Runtime: 75 mins
Directors: Michael Madsen