Minamata: The Victims and Their World, dir. Noriaki Tsuchimoto, Japan 1971, 120 min., Japanese with English subtitles
Retrospective: Tsuchimoto Noriaki
In the small coastal town of Minamata in Kyushu, far from the metropolitan centre, the fertiliser company Chisso built a factory, taking advantage of cheap labour. From 1932 it dumped mercury-filled wastewater into the sea for decades, contaminating the water and sea life severely affecting the health of local people and destroying their livelihoods. This became the worst case of environmental pollution in postwar Japan, and its consequences are still felt today.
Tsuchimoto made films to show the effect of industrial pollution on people’s health, becoming a strong advocate for the patients’ rights and for the recognition of the disease. This important film brought Minamata disease to the world’s attention and created a global environmental movement of solidarity.
This screening opens with an introduction from Ishizaka Kenji, Japan Institute of the Moving Image.