Three new Canadian films take on contemporary global issues through radically different lenses. Stopping off in an Arctic Russian mining city, the ruins of Basra, Iraq and a massive thermonuclear reactor in Southern France, François Jacob’s A Moon of Nickel and Ice, Ann Shin’s My Enemy, My Brother and Mila Aung-Thwin and Van Royko’s Let There Be Light investigate the entangled issues of history, war, energy and ecology from the bottom up, through intense focuses on individuals and their stories.
Quebecois director Jacob makes his feature debut with A Moon of Nickel and Ice, a multi-faceted portrait of the Siberian nickelmining city of Norilsk. Three facts about Norilsk: It’s the world’s northernmost city with over 100,000 inhabitants; it’s one of the most polluted places in the world; and it’s a “closed city”—foreigners have been banned since 2001, and it was closed to most Russians as well during the Soviet era. Norilsk Nickel’s on-site smelting facility gives the gifts of acid rain, smog and fully 1% of the world’s sulfur dioxide emissions.
You may be wondering how they got 100,000 people to move there. Answer: they forced them. Yes, Norilsk was the site of a Soviet Gulag. Continue Reading →