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PANDORA'S PROMISE

SYNOPSIS:
Filmmaker Robert Stone tells the intensely personal stories of environmentalists and energy experts who have undergone a radical conversion from being fiercely anti to strongly pro-nuclear energy, risking their careers and reputations in the process. Stone exposes this controversy within the environmental movement head-on with stories of defection by heavy weights including Stewart Brand, Richard Rhodes, Gwyneth Cravens, Michael Shellenberger and Mark Lynas - who visits Fukushima in the wake of the nuclear accident with the filmmaker. And - notably, surprisingly - to Chernobyl.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A nuclear bomb goes off early in this thought provoking doco when Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Making of the Atom Bomb, a well known liberal democrat, says his revised stand on nuclear energy - from NO to YES - has people puzzled. The explosive nature of his 'backflip' is echoed by several other highly respected individuals.

As Mark Lynas puts it, being an environmentalist goes together with being anti-nuclear energy. "It used to be the case," the Englishman adds in understated tones.

Indeed, the film itself is admirably understated in its tone, in sharp contrast to the shrill activism of the anti nuclear activists (eg misinformed Aussie Helen Caldicott) shown in archival footage. The activists 'got nuclear' when they 'got the science' that is behind nuclear weapons v nuclear energy. The film, of course, frames the subject in the context of man made global warming being an urgent problem to solve by reducing carbon emissions - but even if this proves to be the wrong tree to bark upon, the film makes the case for the use of nuclear energy as a better option than coal or oil.

In a shattering revelation, Michael Shellenberger admits his utter ignorance about nuclear energy's impact, having assumed a draconian set of statistics - totally unsupported by facts. This is isn't unique and it is to the film's credit that it exposes such fervent ideology based on ignorance. (But isn't that usually the case?) Now, these activists display the vigour of the convert.

The utter irony in which this doco is steeped is that the very same reasons - the safe preservation of earth's environment - are now driving the very same people who stood against nuclear energy ... in favour of nuclear energy. They have, as filmmaker Robert Stone says in his statement on the film, escaped the 'rigid orthodoxies of modern environmentalism'.

If nothing else, the lesson of Chernobyl is instructive - and not as you would imagine.

I admire intelligent filmmaking on serious topics and this film is a welcome contribution to the urgent debate about the clean and unlimited source of energy that is within our grasp. Crazy if we don't.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT
EDITORIAL

PANDORA'S PROMISE (G)
(US, 2013)

CAST: Documentary

PRODUCER: Robert Stone, Jim Swartz, Susan Swartz

DIRECTOR: Robert Stone

SCRIPT: Robert Stone

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Stone, Howard Shack

EDITOR: Don Kleszy

MUSIC: Gary Lionelli

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Cinema Ventures

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Touring Australia from October 8, 2013
Melbourne Tuesday 8th October Classic Cinema, Elsternwick
Adelaide Wednesday 9th October Mercury Cinema, Morphett St
Perth Thursday 10th October Luna Palace Cinemas, Nedlands
Canberra Friday 11th October The Arc Cinema, McCoy Circuit
Sydney Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th October Hoyts, Moore Park
Brisbane Monday 14th October Bemac Cinema, Kangaroo Point

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Cinema Ventures

DVD RELEASE: December 11, 2013







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