A few weeks ago, I read the article in “American Scientist” about how modern humans outnumbered Neanderthals because they enabled efficient hunting using domesticated dogs. Its authors speculate that our ability to domesticate dogs may have to do with our white sclerae (other primates have darker sclerae). Dogs communicate with us through exchange of gazes, among other things, while other primates do not. White sclerae might have enhanced the communication through gazes. Fascinating.

That was more than 40,000 years ago.

“Into Eternity” is the documentary film about the deep underground nuclear waste depository in Onkaro, Finland. The site is still under construction, but when it is completed, it will hold canisters of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants for very long time. Yes, it is designed to hold them for more than 100,000 years. The director Michael Madsen examines the issues surrounding such a long-term nuclear waste storage program. One of the critical problems is how to prevent our descendants from digging up this structure and coming into contact with content of the depository without knowing the danger of radioactive materials. Even the world of our so-called “ancient civilization”, which is only 4,000 years old, is already lost to us, so delivering the message 100,000 years into the future is beyond our imagination.

A series of over-exposed images of nuclear facilities, stillness and darkness of underground construction site, minimal design of frame composition and monotonic voices of interviewees, are orchestrated to hypnotize us into this unreal scenery of this unrealistic proposition. You see, it is rather ridiculous to assume it will be one of our descendants who will receive our Pandora’s Box at the other end of timeline. The new species may wonder what Plutonium has anything to do with homo sapiens. If they discovered what we have done, they would know why we are extinct; and it is not because of color of sclerae.

Into Eternity (2010)

Directed by Michael Madsen
Produced by Lise Lense-Møller
Written by Michael Madsen
Starring Carl Reinhold Bråkenhjelm, Mikael Jensen, Berit Lundqvist
Cinematography Heikki Färm
Editing by Daniel Dencik, Stefan Sundlöf
Country Denmark
Language English


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