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Oil On Ice

Directors Dale Djerassi and Bo Boudart cover a lot of tundra in Oil on Ice, a wide-ranging look into the controversial proposal to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. On the ground in ANWR with the people who know it best — conservationists and the members of the Gwich’n Indian nation who live along the refuge’s borders — Djerassi and Boudart put personal faces and stories to potent images of the region’s rugged beauty and diverse wildlife. A portrait emerges of two intertwined cultures, each struggling to sustain itself on limited resources. For the Gwich’n, hunting and fishing at ANWR’s edges supplement meager incomes, while for the larger United States, it’s oil that drives, well, everything. This familiar story is told here with added urgency, not only because Congress will take up the ANWR issue again after its summer recess, but because the Arctic region, like the proverbial canary in our planetary coal mine, is already experiencing the adverse effects of global climate change — evidence that makes the arguments of the pro-drilling lobby appear increasingly bankrupt. (Djerassi and Boudart capture a particularly shameful performance by Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens, who dismisses a Gwich’n activist on the Capitol steps with a paternalistic reference to Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend.) In the face of such arrogance, Oil on Ice makes the case for alternative fuels and cleaner vehicles as an option to drilling. It’s an optimistic faith in new technologies exemplified in the DVD itself: Released by Lightyear Entertainment, the disc comes with a complete activist tool kit as part of its CD-ROM features. Other recommended new releases: The Lina Wertmüller Collection: Swept Away, Seven Beauties, The Nymph, Summer Night, Ferdinando and Carolina (DVD); The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (DVD). VHS-DVD: Because of Winn-Dixie. DVD: The Big Black Comedy Show, Vol. 3; The Bottom of the Sea; Brides of Christ; Cartoon Network Halloween, Vol. 2: Grossest Halloween Ever; Chekhovian Motifs; Children in the Crossfire; Columbo: Season 3; The Crazy Stranger; Crime and Punishment; Dallas: The Complete Third Season; The David Steinberg Show; Hush . . . Hush Sweet Charlotte; In Old Chicago; John Cleese’s Wine for the Confused; The Lady With the Little Dog; Laura Lansing Slept Here; A Married Man; Merci Docteur Rey!; Mrs. Delafield Wants To Marry; Murder, She Wrote: Season 2; Nobody’s Child; Oh Heavenly Dog; Railway Station for Two; The Rites of Frankenstein; Roswell: Season 3; Ruth Rendell Mysteries: Road Rage & Simisola; The Simpsons: Season 6; Slave of Love; The Station Master’s Wife; Teletubbies: All Together Teletubbies: Playful, Pals and Delightful Days!; Teletubbies: Time for Teletubbies; Three Men and a Cradle; Thundercats: Season 1, Vol. 1; What’s New Scooby-Doo?, Vol. 6: Monster Matinee; WWII 60th Anniversary.