Where the Wind Blew
“Where the Wind Blew” tells the story of how the Cold War superpowers spent 40 years developing weapons capable of wiping out entire nations while sacrificing their own vulnerable populations in the name of national security. Using archival footage and testimony from both those affected by and those participating in the events, “Where the Wind Blew” documents how ordinary people were allowed to suffer in ignorance. Mainly focused on residents of what is known as “The Polygon” in Kazakhstan — with additional sequences detailing similar treatment of Native Americans in the U.S. — the film forcefully documents the devastating impact of above-ground nuclear testing on people living near the test areas. But the film also shows how those exploited victims defied their governments with personal fortitude and courage. By joining forces, first nationally and then internationally, they finally triumphed against the testing of nuclear weapons: Kazakhstan became, in 1989, the first nation to close its test site, leading the way to an international test-ban treaty. The film celebrates that past accomplishment but does not ignore present-day realities: As access to nuclear weapons grows, “Where the Wind Blew” questions whether the lessons of this terrible history have been learned.