ARID LANDS 2007 (98 MINUTES) W/D+++: GRANT AAKER AND JOSH WALLAERT PLAYS MONDAY, OCTOBER 6TH AT 7PM
There are days when I feel that I am merely a huge Troglodyte getting mud splashed on me by all the Geek Squad cars that race by. What I don’t know about modern technology is truly terrifying. But then a marvelous documentary like this one comes along that actually resets my head. In this insightful film, two professors of Cultural Geography at Central Washington University (who are so fascinating they deserve their own movie!) talk about how they ask their new students if they slept outside that summer. Out of a class of 80, 8 had. When asked how many had ever dug a hole, 2. They call the “Video Babies”, as they have learned all they know electronically, from TV and the Internet. (It’s refreshing to remember that there needs to be a balance between knowing and doing. In my case my dad flipped houses, and worked in construction. I have not only dug foundations to houses (which are pretty damn big holes!), I helped mix and pour and level the concrete to create foundations. As well as shake-shingle roofs. And I used to sponsor “Champagne Sleepovers in the Woods” camping trips every summer. (Nature AND Nurture!) One sometimes forgets the importance of those skills. (Hence the champagne!))
Don’t let me mislead you, however. This film is a totally well-balanced study of man and environment, set against the controversial background of Hanford and the Tri-City area. But the issues it raises affect everyone everywhere. These guys are so thorough the DVD has a study guide! It is truly one of the best researched, thought-provoking documentaries I have EVER seen. It has representatives from every philosophy and point of view, from the Native American Indian tribes who hunted and fished the area, to modern-day fisherman, farmers, vineyard owners, pastors, real estate developers, the above mentioned professors, historians, and officials who work at Hanford and every other expert you can think of. (Oh, and residents, too.) They discuss water-water quality, rights, pollution, dams and how the fish are affected, and power issues. They discuss the land and how it has been abused-nuclear waste, real estate growth, and the wear and tear created from different groups wanting different things at different times, ending up in a kind of landscape schizophrenia. (AND it’s all beautifully photographed.) Did you know President Clinton created a Hanford wilderness preserve? Or there’s such a thing as a Mormon Cricket (they’re cannibals!)? I didn’t. If you care about the earth, you NEED to see this. It will challenge (and possibly change) your point of view.