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Sunday, April 26, 2015

'Lost Rivers' DVD: Ecology, Tourism, and History Oh My

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Not realizing the full scope of the subject matter in the Brooklyn-based Icarus Films DVD release of the informative and educational documentary "Lost Rivers" is behind negligence in not featuring it as an Earth Day 2015 post. Although the expression "better late than never" does not always apply to environmental issues, the impact of this release coming several days after Earth Day (but before the May 5 2015 release of the DVD) is not so bad.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer for "Rivers" provides an excellent sense of the geographic and project scope of the film.


The primary focus of "Rivers" is the titular waterways that once openly flowed through cities around the world before being buried and integrated into the sewer systems of those metropolises. This chain of events reflected the rivers providing an impetus for establishing a community near them only to have overuse and/or a related increase in the local population prompt building over them. These projects date from less than 100 years ago to several centuries.

The impetuses for uncovering these hidden waterways include environmental motivations and financial benefits. The former reflects the simple law of nature that the rainwater that once ran through those rivers increasingly is flooding the city because it has nowhere to go. The shared two-prong approach of folks who deal with such challenges involves both the aforementioned return of the rivers to the surface and creating basins (a.k.a. human-made ponds) in parks and other undeveloped urban areas.

The financial benefits of allowing the rivers to once again see the light of day reflects the wisdom of learning from experience, The proven theory is that the rivers being pretty to look at makes their bank areas conducive to tourism, commerce, and residential use as was the case at the time of founding those urban areas.

A more direct fiscal influx involves entrepreneurs in Bresica Italy conducting fully sanctioned tours of the rivers under those cities. However, the award for most fascinating enterprise in the film must go to a group in Russia that is attempting to uncover both a lake and large stone lakeside platform that have remain buried for centuries.

This effort to restore urban waterways geographically hits closest to home for many viewers regarding the Yonkers, New York project to uncover the Saw Mill River. The astounding discovery related to a major advancement in that process is one of the most amazing moments in this beautifully shot and fascinating film.

The Yonkers project further portrays the human element of these literal "big digs" in showing the known impact of the excavation on a very likable pizza parlor owner and speculation regarding his post-project future.

The bottom line regarding "Rivers" is that it will make you want to seek out old maps of your city in search of indications that a river (or rivers) runs beneath it.

Candor requires confessing that the 13 bonus video segments that comprise the special features on the DVD remain hidden from the perspective of Unreal TV. However, plans include bringing them to the surface in the next few weeks.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Rivers" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,