Arid Lands, which is running at NWFF, has only one flaw: its score.


But ignore the score and focus instead on the wealth of information this documentary has about the Columbia Basin, the site of several social (and therefore geographical) transformations. The film performs a scientific, economic, and cultural excavation of the area and comes up with lots of unexpected, unforeseen facts and insights. For example, one geographer explains that area contaminated by the Hanford nuclear complex has returned to its original state of nature because humans have abandoned it. Developers and farmers want nothing to do with the toxic place. Because humans themselves are more toxic than their waste, wild animals and wild vegetation now thrive in this humanless area. What kind of nature is this? A nature that comes (that returns) after the death of new (human) nature?