Into Eternity
Into Eternity
Into Eternity
Item#: INT-1069
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Running Time: 75 minutes
58 Min and 75 min on one disk
English w/ occasional subtitles
Chaptered with Scene Selection
Closed Captioned
Grades 9-Adult
Written and Directed by Michael Madsen
Produced by Lise Lense-Møller, Magic Hour Films


ALA Notable Video for Adults

CRITICS’ PICK. I am tempted to call Into Eternity the most interesting documentary, and one of the most disturbing films, of the year so far... the way the movie and the people in it express their concern gives it a feeling of sublimity unusual in most environmentalist documentaries.”
– A.O. Scott, New York Times
Read Full Article Here

"Highly Recommended. A fascinating and eerie documentary.... Michael Madsen’s film raises difficult scientific, ethical and philosophical questions about the decision to invest in a technology that produces potentially destructive waste that will linger deep underground for 3,000 generations. Much to its credit, the film does not shy away from the tough questions. It is a truly disturbing film on many levels."
- Educational Media Reviews Online

“It might seem crazy, if not criminal, to obligate 3,000 future generations of humans to take care of our poisonous waste just so that we can continue running our electric toothbrushes. But it’s already too late to wave off the nuclear age, and Mr. Madsen’s film comes at a perfect time to join a worldwide conversation about what to do with its ashes.”
– Dennis Overbye, Science Reporter, New York Times
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"Excellent. The haunting Into Eternity ...is a rare hybrid: an information-packed documentary crossed with an existential art film. In a deceptively low-key manner, Danish filmmaker Michael Madsen has beautifully crafted one of the most provocative movies of the year."
- San Francisco Chronicle

“Madsen's film does not merely ask tough questions about the implications of nuclear energy– but about how we, as a race, conceive our own future. Tackles a subject almost beyond comprehension …. one of the most extraordinary factual films to be shown this year. Why isn’t every government, every philosopher, every theologian, everywhere in the world discussing Onkalo and its implications?”
– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)

“Michael Madsen’s film is a creepy, eerily elegant meditation on human folly, punctuated by philosophical and historical references, that asks: how do you keep 3,000 future generations from inadvertently opening this Pandora’s Box? If you thought the BP oil spill was scary…''
–Karen Cooper, Director, Film Forum

CRITIC’S PICK. Madsen’s unconventional approach makes the already fascinating subject matter even eerier and more disturbing.”
– Miranda Siegel, New York Magazine

“It is meant to boggle the mind and inspire awe—and it does. As in 2001 or The Time Machine, the story of the human race comes full circle. The unknown past meets the unknowable future in a wintry ground zero.”
– J. Hoberman, Village Voice

“Radical and stunning. Doesn't play like a documentary at all. Watching the film is akin to having a totally immersive, video game-like experience, a journey best described as Lord of the Rings meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. Time seems to stand still.”
– Lauren Wissot, Slant Magazine

Recommended. What animates the film is the other worldliness of the under-construction project, and the paradoxes the finished Onkalo will embody. If Onkalo succeeds, it will become the longest-lasting product of contemporary civilization — which it might very well outlive.”
– Mark Jenkins, NPR.org




All prices include DVD and PPR

K-12 Schools & Public Libraries: $89
Colleges, Institutions, & Businesses: $295
Colleges, Institutions, & Businesses (with DSL): $595

For license to screen the film in group or community settings, please click here.)

The world’s nuclear power plants have generated an estimated 300,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste that must be safely stored for 100,000 years or more. Every year, they generate another 12,000 metric tons of high-level waste.

Into Eternity is the first feature documentary to explore the mind-boggling scientific and philosophical questions long-term nuclear waste storage poses.

Structured as a message to future generations, the film focuses on the Onkalo waste repository now under construction in Finland, one of the first underground storage facilities. Onkalo is a gigantic network of tunnels being carved out of bedrock that will start receiving Finland’s nuclear waste in 2020. Once the repository is full, in about 100 years, it will be closed and hopefully remain sealed for at least 100,000 years.

Into Eternity takes viewers deep into the Onkalo facility as it is being constructed and asks Onkalo representatives, scientists, theologians and others to address fundamental but challenging questions.

How can our civilization know what the world will be like in 100,000 years? The first modern homo sapiens appeared about that long ago and no human structure has survived more than 5000 years. How can we anticipate climate and geologic changes that far in the future? What will life on our planet be like then? How do we warn distant generations of the deadly waste our civilization left behind? What languages or signs will they understand? How do we prevent them from thinking they have located the pyramids of our time or some other treasures?

With its stark, stylistic approach, Into Eternity not only raises questions about the possibility of long-term nuclear waste storage, but also invites reflection on the limits of science and human knowledge, along with our responsibility to future generations.


Grand Prize, Paris Int’l Environmental Film Festival (FIFE)
Grand Prize, Vision Du Reel – Nyon
Green Screen Award, IDFA, Amsterdam
Audience Award, CPH:DOX – Copenhagen
Reel Talent Award for Michael Madsen - CPH:DOX

Cinema Eye Honor - Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Cinema Eye Honor - Outstanding Achievement in an Int’l Feature

Official Selection
Tribeca Film Festival
San Francisco Green Festival