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Like 'Baraka' and other documentaries which show images from the world, both good and bad, "Petropolis" does not need narration to tell you what is going on in Northern Alberta. The images alone do it justice. You only need to see the images of the tailings ponds, hot crude gushing from pipes into lakes and bleak, colourless landscapes to know that this is truly environmental damage on a mass scale.
The film opens with the camera panning across the unspoiled wilderness of the boreal forests of Northern Alberta. Suddenly, the viewer is over an industrial wasteland like none other. The total size of the tar sands is 140,000 square kilometres. By comparison the area of England is 130,000. There are also plans to extensively expand the oil sands in the near future.
The supplements on the DVD are interesting as well and perhaps should have been part of the 45 minute feature. There are interviews with local residents, a local doctor who speaks about increased cancer rates, a fisherman who talks of increased numbers of mutilated fish and residents of Fort McMurray who talk of the horrible toxic smell which now regularly covers the town.
This is a good documentary for anyone interested in the impact of the oil sands on the ecology of North Alberta.
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