July 01, 2011

Into Eternity (Denmark/Finland 2010)

"Into Eternity" is a spooky documentary about the Nuclear storage facility Onkalo that is currently being built in a deserted part of Finland. This pioneering project finally aims to provide a final solution for nuclear waste. What makes things complicated is that radioactive waste doesn't just go away over time - the radiation stays dangerous for up to 100.000 years. So the main challenge of Onkalo's is to make sure that it remains closed and safe for future generations after its completion.

This is where the documentary of Danish filmmaker Michael Madsen sets in. He seems to be half serious when he repeatedly adresses his future audience - in his words, the film should "remind people to forget". But apart from these darkly comical moments, the film also touches a lot of serious issues that mankind is facing right now. Regardless if one is for or against nuclear energy, we have to find a way to dispose of the enormous amounts of nuclear waste that has been created already. And even though all of the experts involved in the construction of the site are aware that there will never be a guarantee that it will be 100% safe, for now, it may be the best choice that we have right now.

One strenght of the film is that unlike more persuasive documentaries, it never forces any opinion on its audience - it simply lets the deserted land, the creepy facility and the people involved with its construction speak for themselves. The viewer is left with the uncomfortable feeling that we as humans have made too many mistakes already which is why it may already be too late to correct them. The best thing we can hope for is that future generations will take better care of the world than we did.


Director Michael Madsen addressing his future audience

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