Greatest Film Scenes
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Minamata: The Victims and Their World (1971)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Minamata: The Victims and Their World (1971, Jp.)

In Japanese documentary film-maker Noriaki Tsuchimoto's expose (filmed over 17 years) that surveyed the development of Minamata disease and its victims in the late 1950s - a harrowing example of industrial waste and corporate irresponsibility:

  • the discovery that the Chisso Corporation, a manufacturer of fertilizer, had dumped pollutants (methyl-mercury) into the water near the fishing village of Minamata on the western side of the island of Kyushu - the residents had eaten poisoned fish and over 2,000 subsequently suffered extensive brain and nervous system disorders (an epilepsy-like affliction that led to convulsions and ultimately death) over many years, from 1932 to 1968
  • the sequences showing the effects of the disease upon cats and then humans (including unborn fetuses)
  • the shocking concluding scene of impassioned protest by some of the victims (families of the dead and disfigured) at an annual shareholders meeting to corporate leaders who showed little compassion or care - until a growing public outcry eventually brought victims compensation

Annual Shareholders Meeting with Corporate Leaders

Protestors Confronted the Corporation's President

"How much do you think I suffered?"


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