Filmmaker: Harvey Richards • Publisher: Estuary Press
Tale of Ruin, Capitalism and World Resources (1978) analyzes the issues involved in the acquisition and usage of raw materials in our market oriented society. The film features photography of seldom seen U.S. strip mining operations and open pit mines. Such large scale mining, here and abroad, has led to poverty for the workers and environmental destruction for many areas around the world. The film shows how reliance on foreign oil and mineral resouces underlies much of US foreign policy and war industries. Harvey Richards first film on mining, Perch of the Devil, centered on the miner’s strike of 1960 in Butte, Montana. In the years that followed, underground mining (and its unions) were displaced by open pit mining, as technology created new ways to extract metal ores from the earth. In Tale of Ruin, Richards photographed these immense open pits, including the Berkeley Pit which sank into the earth and devoured much of the city of Butte, Montana in the late 60’s and early 1970’s. Today, the Berkeley Pit is a toxic lake that threatens to pollute Butte's drinking water and the very survival of the city itself.