Picks and Pans Review: P.o.v

updated 08/07/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/07/1989 01:00AM

PBS (Tues., Aug. 8, 10 P.M.)

A

Cancel the bowling game if you have to. You owe it to yourself to see this chilling episode of P.O.V., a 90-minute documentary about nuclear weapons entitled Dark Circle. If it doesn't leave you shaken, then you could sleep through a 10-point earthquake.

Independent film producer Judy Irving got the idea for Dark Circle in 1978, while in Denver, Colo. At the time, a local magazine article claimed that a nearby reservoir and the surrounding countryside had been contaminated with plutonium from a bomb-making factory called Rocky Flats. Over a four-year period, Irving set out to understand the little-known effects of nuclear power and weapons production. She details government cover-ups and interviews leukemia and brain tumor victims who blame their diseases on exposure to nuclear particles.

Included are previously classified government film footage of nuclear testing and experimentation, plus interviews with residents of a housing project at Rocky Flats, buyers and sellers at an arms convention in Washington, D.C., and badly scarred survivors of the atomic blast at Nagasaki. Irving's timely, enlightening film, done in collaboration with Christopher Beaver and Ruth Landy, comes as an apparently much-needed warning sign on a very dangerous road.

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