It is truly the gift that keeps on giving: The stockpile of nuclear waste that we continue to generate, year in and year out, useless for any practical purpose, but still deadly. In Finland, they think they’ve come up with a solution — it’s called Onkalo (literally Finnish for “hiding place”), a massive, man-made cave meant to store 250,000 tons of radioactive refuse for 100,000 years. The two-fold problem: In a world where the pyramids are only 4500 years old, and the oldest cave drawings date back to only 30,000 years, how can anyone be sure that this dangerous stockpile will remain secure over 100 millenia, and how can we prevent future generations — by either accident or design — from gaining access to the cache?
Conceptual artist Michael Madsen attempts to confront the dilemma in INTO ETERNITY, a mesmerizing, thoughtful documentary that takes audiences down into the still-in-progress Onkalo dig and introduces us to the people responsible for its construction and maintenance. Framed as cautionary fable for future generations, the film attempts to conceptualize the notion of a danger that persists into posterity, and to explore the challenges in dealing with such a legacy.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Michael Madsen.
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