Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Glasnost Film Festival, No. 1

  • Against the Current
  • The Wood Goblin

  • Rating: ***
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $59.95 Series (public): $575.00
  • Date: Copyright 1988. Released 1990.
  • Descriptors: Environment- - Government policy. Soviet Union - Environment.
  • Production Information: Live action, Film transfer. Produced by Dmitri Delov (Current), Boris Kustov (Wood Goblin). Color. Russian. Subtitled. 27, 19 min.
  • Available from: The Video Project 5332 College Ave., Ste. 101 Oakland, CA 94618 (510) 655-9050, (800) 4-PLANET
  • Cataloging: ||Environmental protection - Soviet Union
  • Print Entry #: 1:1924
  • Reviewer: Glen Kaltenbrun

    Program 1 of the Glasnost Film Festival series contains two short documentaries dealing with the environment on one tape.

    The first program is entitled Against the Current and is concerned with the ecological consequences of "progress" - in this case the manufacture and distribution of a synthetically derived protein compound which would be used to stimulate growth in farm animals.

    A manufacturing plant was opened to produce this protein and no safety precautions were taken. As a result many people were poisoned. At a large rally many of the affected people spoke of their troubles and demanded that the plant be closed. (Possibly as a result of the protest, it actually was shut down - but only for two months.)

    Even though the manufacture of this compound was halted in Europe during the 1970s, and Soviet scientists had proven that it was a very strong allergen that affected the immune system, many more production facilities were planned - including one above an artesian basin that supplied drinking water to millions of people.

    Apologists for the manufacturing interests tell the people at the rally that they are standing in the way of their country's economic development, that the protein compound is an inalienable part of progress which cannot be stopped, that the protein is harmless, and that their concerns are groundless. These scenes are chilling, and coupled with shots of ominous-looking manufacturing plants and destroyed landscapes, they provide us with a glimpse of a nightmarish future.

    Technically, this film is rough. The sound is good but the images consist of a mixture of black-and-white footage and bleached-out color, and some of the subtitles are difficult to read. However, the powerful subject matter and the fact that the film was made at all transcend any technical problems.

    The second program on the tape, The Wood Goblin (Confessions of an Old Man), consists of reminiscences of an elderly man who lives in the forest and protects it from those who would destroy it (in his words, "You can't live without green trees"). The theme here is similar to the first film (people defending simple values against a power structure committed to progress at any cost) but this is a gentle, introspective, and more slowly paced piece of work. In addition, the technical values are a bit smoother.

    This program is probably most recommendable to libraries with collections in environmental issues or foreign affairs. Anyone with an interest in the changes currently taking place within Soviet society or in what is being done to our planet will find much food for thought here.

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