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Plot & Details

This exhaustive treatment of the roots of environmental destruction in the modern world has come in for scathing criticism from those spearheading the "environmental backlash" movement, which is composed largely of rabidly pro-corporate thinkers and those who take "pure" capitalism as their religion. The filmmakers demonstrate that, beginning with Columbus' activities on the island of Hispaniola, the drive to exploit the natural world has increased explosively all over the world. In the case of the United States, doctrines like "Manifest Destiny" are shown to have played their role in justifying these developments. In this passionate indictment of current trends, the filmmakers have spared no offender, and the overriding tone is bleak indeed. As a propaganda piece, they might have done better to moderate their tone and speak of some of the benefits of modernity along with the depredations caused by it. It is also clear that almost none of the villains the documentary names thought of themselves as such, or are willing to do so now.

Sundance Film Festival

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1992 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize: Documentary Won

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