Montreal International Documentary Festival

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Short and Medium-Length Competitions

Urth Ben Rivers

Film index A to Z

Urth is a greenhouse complex housed in a series of domes, each one home to a different ecosystem. A woman, perhaps the last survivor of an environmental calamity, looks after them. In voiceover, she reads from her log, commenting methodically and scientifically on the progress of this vestige of life, looking for all the world like distant ruins. While the narrative has a futuristic element, the place where Ben Rivers filmed is very real: this is Biosphere 2, an artificial ecosystem project in the Arizona desert, now falling into disrepair – a quintessential sci-fi movie setting. From utopia to dystopia, the filmmaker captures the facility’s sad beauty, inspiring us to think about our relationship with nature. It’s a relationship far more complex than any futuristic invention.


  • Country : United States
  • Year : 2016
  • V.O : English
  • Subtitles : English
  • Duration : 19 MIN
  • Cinematography : Ben Rivers
  • Editing : Ben Rivers
  • Production : Ben Rivers
  • Sound Design : Ben Rivers
Filmography of Ben Rivers :

Ah, Liberty! (2008)
Two Years at Sea (2011)
A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (2013)
The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015)
The Hunchback (2016)

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Discover the best in documentary, take part in our year-round activities, and make the most of your festival!