Power on the River is a documentary about what happens when the global corporate vision of progress enters into the lives of small rural communities in the interior of Brazil. A new hydroelectric dam is being completed by the Consortium, a state energy company, CEMIG, and a Brazilian multinational mining corporation, Vale do Rio Doce. According to the Consortium, everything possible is being done to help the region adjust to the changes the dam will bring, but those living along the river and in the relocated town displaced by the dam tell a different story.
A look at the often ignored consequences of hydroelectric power production and who and what are sacrificed in the process. Players on both sides reveal how they see the project: Valter, a middle-class technical contractor from the city struggles working away from his family but sincerely believes in the promise of hydropower to aid Brazil’s development.
Meanwhile, relocated citizens Maria Helena and Ruth take different paths in dealing with the profound life changes in their new town. The Rio Doce, where the dam is being finished, is experiencing significant changes as well, affecting the livelihood of local fishermen.
Through it all, the Vale company’s trains thunder relentlessly through the region, carrying iron ore to the coast for export. As the project is completed and the Consortium prepares to move on, the communities are faced with an uncertainty of how to take back their lives.
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