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The Unforeseen

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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(Sep 30, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The American dream of owning a house with a white picket fence goes head-to-head with environmental sustainability in this urgent, beautifully crafted documentary. When an ambitious real estate developer sets out to transform thousands of acres of pristine hill country around Austin, Texas into a suburban development threatening a nearby natural spring and local treasure the community fights back. In the conflict that ensues, we see in miniature the struggle between development and preservation that today plays out in cities and towns across the country. A work of stunning visual beauty and epic scope, The Unforeseen is a grand meditation on the destruction of the natural world in pursuit of an often fleeting dream.

Special Features:
- AUDIO COMMENTARY by Director Laura Dunn
- SECOND AUDIO COMMENTARY by Producer & Motion Graphics Designer Jef Sewell, Cinematographer Lee Daniel and Sound Designer Tom Hammond
- THEATRICAL TRAILER
- ENGLISH 5.1 SOUNDTRACK
- ESSAY BY FILM CRITIC DENNIS LIM
- SCENE SELECTIONS

A BEAUTIFUL, SOULFUL work about real estate development and sprawl... and if you think that s impossible you haven t seen it. Andrew O Hehir, SALON.COM

A GORGEOUS, LYRICAL documentary. J.R. Jones, CHICAGO READER

A STUNNINGLY GRAND and BEAUTIFUL movie. Mark Nichol, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Review

A BEAUTIFUL, SOULFUL work about real estate development and sprawl... and if you think that s impossible you haven t seen it. --Andrew O Hehir, SALON.COM

A GORGEOUS, LYRICAL documentary. --J.R. Jones, CHICAGO READER

A STUNNINGLY GRAND and BEAUTIFUL movie. --Mark Nichol, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Willie Nelson, Robert Redford, Ann Richards, Henry Fistar Brooks, Gary Bradley
  • Directors: Laura Dunn
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, HiFi Sound, Letterboxed, NTSC, Surround Sound, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: New Yorker Films Video / Cinema Guild
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BDZR2Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,897 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a wonderful documentary about "development" which focuses primarily on one case in Austin, but is really asking questions about the entire society's choices and values. The filmmakers leave no secret about where their opinions lie on the commentary track, but this is not a one sided Michael Moore type film.

Wendell Berry reads from his work over the opening scene and Patty Griffin's Someone Else's Tomorrow plays over the closing credits. In between you get everything from Bush and Richards and the savings and loan crisis to young Willie Nelson, Ed Abbey's cancer cell metaphor, a kid playing outside, a farmer losing all the fields around him, a couple in their new house, an all night city council meeting, a parade, and some beautiful scenes of the natural world. There are film clips and comments which will inspire and infuriate you whichever side you're on.

The description here says there are two commentaries...on the rented version I saw, there was only one featuring all the people listed. In any case, this is a commentary you'll definitely want to hear because it adds a lot of background information and explanation about the scenes and people in the movie. Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
I'm a documentary junkie, and this is the best one I've ever seen. Rather than creating a standard propaganda piece, the director explored each facet of this, the most difficult issue that we face as a society (individual vs. group rights). An inescapable, gut-wrenching tension builds as we are forced to conclude that each featured proponent has merits, but alas, those merits are mutually exclusive. The resulting paradox is almost impossible to comprehend and even harder to accept. The film has been accused of incorporating too much poetic drift, but I think those elements are essential to the development of mood and perception. As the stories progress, we need time to integrate the material presented so that we can truly feel what's going on, and the artistic content supplies necessary pauses in the intellectual stream. In sum, this is a remarkable achievement in film-making. I recommend it even if you don't find the basic subject matter (land development vs. preservation) particularly interesting.
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Format: DVD
"All politics is local." And by that token, this film about specific land development issues as illustrated over decades in the life of a specific town is compellingly universal.

Texans, and Austinites in particular, are the ones whose hearts (and blood pressure) will be most affected by this documentary. But I can't imagine an American alive who couldn't recognize some aspect of these issues playing out in his or her own state, or town, or neighborhood.

The value of this story will be most accessible to people who are already interested in government, environmental politics, and the economy. Though made by forthright environmentalists the documentary will be fascinating to those people whether they fall on the pro-growth, slow-growth, or no-growth side of the issues, and rewards your full attention.

The filmmakers do an excellent job of getting all sorts of voices to speak their piece on camera, from former hometown boy Robert Redford and former Texas Governor Ann Richards, to a local farmer with homespun wisdom, to a couple of articulate local developers and the somewhat laconic lobbyist for the corporate interests with which they were aligned. The most telling moment in the film for me is when that lobbyist, who formulated a pro-growth (anti-environmental) law and got it passed at the state level says -- in a completely dispassionate tone -- "Legislature burned Austin to the ground." (That same lobbyist sent a note to the filmmakers when he signed his release for them to use his footage: "Great job!" and drew a smiley face on the post-it.)

I also recommend the engaging bonus commentary track by the director and other crew members, who talk not only about specifics of the issues and personalities in the movie -- they are all longtime locals -- but also offer some extremely useful tips for documentarians and other shoestring filmmakers. One thing: it's helpful when your mentor and advisor is Terrence Malick (another local).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film should be viewed by all, especially those cognizant of what is happening to land all over the country, not just in Texas. Unless we would be satisfied living in a super national suburbia dictated by the un imaginative, we need to become aware of what is being perpetrated by land use engineers now. This film is a fine beginning.
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Format: DVD
The Unforeseen is a multi-hued perspective on several different issues such as urban sprawl, pollution, unchecked development, and environmental impacts that can result from these events. Additionally, there are examinations of the imbalances between overwhelming financial interests versus the considerations of public sentiment and the ways of life of surrounding communities.

The primary focus in this story is a beautiful and desirable community in Austin, Texas known as Barton Creek and Barton Springs that faces the impending development of a huge new subdivision, a significant population increase, and the dangers it will present. Politics are also a factor as the citizens use their voices and votes to move against the undesirable circumstances looming ahead and this is detailed also in the program.

When looking at the different sides of these challenging issues, there is a good balance of input and debate from different individuals such as politicians, real estate developers, journalists, environmental activists and experts, and many residents of the Barton Creek community. Although all members involved in these events are passionate and concerned for their own reasons, I think the general tone of each side presenting their views was fair and objective.

After watching this program, I came away with sobering feeling that what happened in Barton Creek has happened or is happening in many communities across the United States. The moral and ethical considerations in making sound choices for development while recognizing the environment, conservation, sustainability, and public concerns are vital, now more than ever.

The Unforeseen is an excellent documentary, in my opinion, and I would definitely recommend it to everyone.
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