Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, December 2: SAND WARS
Denis Delestrac’s investigation into the worldwide overconsumption of sand debuted in French cinemas last year. Its festival run has included numerous environmental fests, including events in Washington DC, San Francisco, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, San Sebastian, Sao Paulo, and Cape Town, among others.
Noting the ubiquity of sand in modern life, from household cleaning products and electronics to its most common usage in reinforced concrete, Delestrac’s dry but informative film explores the global ramifications of humanity’s overuse of the limited resource. Taking a survey approach, the film brings viewers to a number of hotspots around the world which illustrate the dangers wrought by the extraction of sand, such as Dubai, which imports Australian sand for its extensive building projects, including the formation of artificial islands; Singapore, which has engaged in illegal sand harvesting from neighboring nations to expand its own coastline; and the Maldives, whose smaller islands are threatened by sea level rise thanks in part to the loss of sand, among many other examples.The use of narration strings these locations together, and, with the help of talking heads experts, pushes the argument that mankind’s shortsighted greed has once again jeopardized our existence, threatening to destroy all the world’s beaches. While it’s effective enough in getting its point across, the approach taken is unfortunately more reportage than cinematic storytelling, with the only potentially engaging subjects and situation emerging only briefly towards the very end, as a small fishing community in Brittany rallies to stop plans to remove sand from their fishing lanes.