Directed by: Stacey Stone
Written by: Stacey Stone
Length: 10 minutes
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The Salton Sea situation is seemingly one of those proof stories that further many peoples belief that us humans, are very quickly destroying our own planet. In essence, the once lavishly portrayed tourist destination is now not much more than a decaying burg. A curiosity being reclaimed by the desert. Once an amazing oasis in the dust is now a dangerous place even to visit. Virtually, a very hazardous place created and destroyed by man. Is all this really done by man though? That's the question I found myself asking after watching this title.
"Unaccountable" is only 10 minutes long. When considering a documentary this quick, you also need to consider what information is presented. Stacey Stone manages to create a visual essay of this once lavish resort; but really doesn't do much more. The title implies proofs and information, but what's delivered is mainly current images, and a life and times approach. A little history "is" given through what I imagine were promotional videos for the area. Aside from that, not much else in the what happened department. I was expecting a more in depth history. Maybe more information on the "how" than on the "current" state. We are given a little about farm water runoff, but not a lot more. I was left to think that maybe, the decline was natural and then added to by the local farms. I could be completely wrong; but there's not really much to go from when "Unaccountable" ends it's run. The man made wasteland aspect was just not covered as much as I "though" it would be. Especially with a title like "Unaccountable" I was expecting a little more about "people" being the cause. What I got was an implication people caused this. After watching Stone's title, I could just as easily argue that nature played into the decline and destruction of this place. That "man" has simply contributed to an existing problem. Especially once the major decline began. The very name itself, the "Salton Sea" implies a salt rich body of water. In a desert no less! Doesn't that also imply a natural recession? Salt and heat. Doesn't that also tell us that fish and birds don't stand much of a chance? Maybe they never did? I could be totally wrong. Maybe even the excessive salt was man made. It's just never really talked about in this title.
So maybe the actual title of the film "was" a little misleading for my tastes? That didn't make watching "Unaccountable" a bad experience. Stacey Stone presents some very powerful images. The march of time on a forgotten paradise. The contrasting images of happy children and desolation. The "then" and "now" story that is the backbone of this title. Images that could be deemed heartbreaking, but are at the very least incredibly interesting to watch. All of this is narrated in an almost childlike manner. A Sad child. Adding to the drama considerably. Perhaps "Unaccountable" is a little light when weighing the given title of the film to what is actually presented. That makes it no less interesting to behold, and it surely did weigh on my heart. Much like seeing a once beautiful plant withering and dying in the dust. Helped along not just by nature, but also neglect. Then again, doesn't that always seem to be the case?