Once the dust has settled

Located in the south of the Canadian province of Quebec, the town of Val-des-Sources is home to what was once the world’s largest asbestos mine. Indeed, the town and the mineral, which was long used for insulation but is now considered a carcinogen, are so inextricably linked that, until 2020, it was named Asbestos.

In the short documentary Once the Dust Has Settledthe Canadian filmmaker Hervé Demers finds the town in a period of transition – long removed from its heyday as a thriving mining town, but with many residents uncertain about proposals to vote for a new name. Indeed, many locals are nostalgic for the city’s industrial past, with the benefits of a firm economic identity seeming to outweigh the inconvenience of asbestos dust raining down on front porches and, in one instance, streets collapsing into the mine. The result is a nuanced portrait of place that captures both the impacts of heavy industry on a small town, and the physical and psychological voids it can leave in its wake.

Via Shortverse


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