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Like a naturalist's war cry, DamNation calls for the destruction of America's dams, which co-directors Ben Knight and Travis Rummel assert have wreaked havoc on this nation’s natural resources. The documentary opens with a history lesson that charts the rise of dams—more than 75,000 built in less than a century—as a government-touted feat of engineering. This gives way to an exploration of their effect on the environment. Knight and Rummel focus mostly on salmon, whose migratory cycles are disrupted by dams, but also argue that cultural and spiritual degradation occurs when humans attempt to thwart Mother Nature. Portland's backyard gets its share of attention: Bonneville Dam is called out for its ethically questionable salmon hatchery, as is The Dalles Dam for its premeditated flooding of Celilo Falls, a historic Native American settlement. DamNation's remarkable footage captures the natural power of rivers and makes it easy to imagine dams as clogged arteries in an otherwise functioning circulatory system. But while the cinematography is provocative, the real scene-stealer is Knight's candid first-person narration, as when he tells us that salmon hatcheries “basically suck at life” for how they promote inbreeding and beat fish to death to extract their eggs.

Special Note

Hollywood Theatre
  • Genres: Drama
  • Running Time: 114 minutes
  • Country: Hungary
  • Language: Hungarian
  • Critic's Score: A
  • Starring: Miklós Székely [], Vali Kerekes [], Gyula Pauer [], Hedi Temessy [], Gyorgy Cserhalmi []
  • Directed by: Béla Tarr [Director], Joszef Marx [Producer], Béla Tarr [Writer], Laszlo Krasnahorkai [Writer]
  • Watch the trailer

Show Times

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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