Kepone

1991 | 00:11:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Environment, Health

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Against images of an inventor-chemist juggling brightly colored molecules, psychedelic arms passing out pesticides, and nightmarish landscapes that include trapped live subjects, Oursler presents Hopewell, Virginia—a turn-of-the-century boomtown gone bust, and host to a Kepone pesticide manufacturing plant since 1966. Although Kepone’s extreme toxicity was well established by 1964, production grew and employees continued to be exposed to the carcinogen—eventually poisoning the surrounding area and the James River for years to come. Locals were reluctant to criticize industry policy because Kepone manufacturing was one of the primary sources of jobs in the town. “When they told us it wouldn’t hurt us, I went back to work.” The tension between the factual statements about Kepone and the expressive video illustrations and soundtrack gives viewers insight into the trauma inflicted on this “sacrifice zone.”