Shot primarily from a helicopter, filmmaker Peter Mettler’s “Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands” offers an unparalleled view of the world’s largest industrial, capital and energy project. Canada’s tar sands are an oil reserve the size of England. Extracting the crude oil called bitumen from underneath unspoiled wilderness requires a massive industrialized effort with far-reaching impacts on the land, air, water, and climate. It’s an extraordinary spectacle, whose scope can only be understood from far above. In a hypnotic flight of image and sound, one machine’s perspective upon the choreography of others, suggests a dehumanized world where petroleum’s power is supreme.
Mettler is known for a diversity of work in image and sound mediums – foremost for his films such as “Picture of Light” and “Gambling, Gods and LSD” but also as a photographer and groundbreaking live audio/visual mixing performer. His work bridges the gap between experimental, narrative, personal essay, and documentary. He has collaborated with an extensive range of international artists and has been honored with awards and retrospectives worldwide.
"Peeled-back forests; outflow lakes black with bitumen; valleys eczema'd by excavation; it is at once scary, nightmarish and oddly beautiful. "
"Little narration is needed: sweeping shots of the truly overwhelming natural terrain are as awesome as anything in Avatar. "
"This timely oil industry documentary from Greenpeace is only 43 minutes long, but stunning, fugue-like aerial photography justifies its cinema release. "