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Energised by a charming, eclectic cast of characters, including the titular fish, The Super Salmon dives into a civic battle between government bureaucrats and grassroots activists over the proposed Susitna-Watana Dam in southern Alaska: a $6 billion project that critics believe would greatly damage a vital salmon-spawning area. Planned at a time when mega-dams have largely fallen out of fashion with US energy and environment experts, the project was set to become the second-largest dam in North America before being suspended indefinitely in 2016. Combining perspectives from all sides of the fight with the story of the ‘ninja of all salmon’ – a radio-tracked fish that made a near-mythic spawning journey up the Susitna river – the director Ryan Peterson injects the frequently dry, so-serious environmental activism documentary genre with a refreshing dose of verve and humour, all without losing sight of the issues.
Director: Ryan Peterson
Website: Alaskinist Stories
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Technology and the self
Greetings from Green Bank – the small town where modern technology is banned
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Dance and theatre
How a Noh mask-maker summons a lifelike face from a single block of wood
The ancient world
What wine vessels reveal about politics and luxury in ancient Athens and Persia
David Goldblatt captured the contradictions of apartheid in stark black and white
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Thinkers and theories
Is simulation theory a way to shirk responsibility for the world we’ve created?
A dazzling slice-by-slice exploration of wood exposes hidden patterns and hues