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Plagues & Pleasures On the Salton Sea

Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Chris Metzler
Directed by Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer
DVD, color, 57 min.
Sr. High - Adult
American Studies, Area Studies, Bioethics, Economics, Environmental Studies, Travel and Tourism, Popular Culture

Reviewed by Brian Burns, Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
Date Entered: 12/20/2006

The AMC Pacer was just another car. Glitter (featuring Mariah Carey) was just another movie. New Coke was just another soft drink. And the Salton Sea was just another lake resort in California. Each of these products were initially great ideas, but at some point along the way, things went dreadfully wrong. At one time the Salton Sea was favorably compared to Palm Springs, located a mere 50 miles north west, and shared some of the same celebrities of the day. A manmade diversion of the Colorado River early in the 20th Century fashioned the Salton Sea, and later, irrigation runoff from farmlands increased the salinity to where it was at higher levels than the oceans. Today, decreasing water supply due to more water being diverted from the Colorado River toward coastal cities has created what many have called an ecological disaster. Hundreds of thousands of fish die each year causing disease and death among birds and bringing a biblical plague-like number of flies. Still there remains a sense of community and hope among many of the folks inhabiting the small hamlets dotting the perimeter of the lake. The film is well done and actually rises to the challenge and meets the hype created by the numerous awards. Meet the people and the place in this quirky, informative and entertaining film, which will make you chuckle, wince and scratch your head throughout.