A powerful film odyssey explores the shift in America’s national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. DamNation shows how far things have moved and how quickly, from the assumption 50 years ago that dams were always a power for good, to the first successful attempt to remove a marginal dam 20 years ago on the Kennebec River. The film highlights other dam removal stories, including the Elwha and White Salmon Rivers in Washington. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. The film’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.
Running time: 87 minutes