The "paradise" part of Polluting Paradise
The festival has now wrapped up for the year, though of course it ended at slightly different times and with different films according to where you were in the country.
For this festival blog it ended last night in Sydney with a screening at the Palace Verona of the latest film from leading Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin (Head On; The Edge of Heaven), a late addition to the program courtesy of Sharmill Films.
Like Akin's vibrant 2005 film Crossing the Bridge about the Istanbul music scene, Polluting Paradise is a documentary set in Turkey, only this time, as the title suggests, its theme is environmental. The setting is the village of Camburnu, home to Akin's grandparents (as we only learn during the closing credits), which nestles in the picturesque Black Sea coastal hills where the locals work on tea plantations.
The location stopped being quite so idyllic following the establishment of a stinking refuse tip in the community's midst, a gigantic municipal facility servicing 80 towns and villages. The locals were given assurances the sprawling garbage heap would neither smell nor pollute the water table or local streams, all of which quickly turned out to be lies. The film follows the villagers' angry campaign against the dump, led by the local mayor, over a period of five or six years.
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