Minamata, Berlin Film Festival World Premiere

Friday, February 21, 2020

Minamata, a film featuring the Minamata Disease, a debilitating illness caused by mercury poisoning, premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival. Johnny Depp stars as W. Eugene Smith, a US war photographer, who with his wife Aileen Smith, documented the devastating effects of the disease on the local Japanese community in the 1970s.

 At the time, many people in Minamata in southwest Japan, were suffering from this serious neurological disease having eating seafood contaminated with mercury from waste waters that a local company had discharged into the Minamata Bay for decades. The severe and widespread health damage from this pollution, at times leading to death, was also tragically passed from mothers to their unborn children.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury signed in 2013 in Kumamoto, Japan, in its preamble recognises the substantial lessons learned from this environmental disaster and calls on global action for such a tragedy never to be repeated. #MakeMercuryHistory

For more information:

Minamata Disease - History and Measures

Minamata film on Berlinale website

Copyright 2024 by Minamata Convention on Mercury  
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