Lars Edman, William Johansson Kalén
Tue 27 Apr 21 - Thu 30 Sep 21
  • Caution with children up to 16 years of age

In Arica, in northern Chile, the lives of thousands of inhabitants are affected by toxic waste. Survivors are seeking justice in a transnational lawsuit over the accountability of the Swedish company behind it all.

The Swedish mining company Boliden shipped off toxic waste to Chile in 1984, and safeguarded itself with the excuse it would be processed over there. Only later it is discovered that part of the waste is dumped at the edge of desert city Arica. This has dire consequences: the living conditions of the residents are dominated by multiple cases of cancer and congenital defects. The viewer can immediately empathize with the very tangible battle for social justice that has been fought in northern Chile for ages.

Years later, Lars Edman, who was born in Chile, questions the polluting actions of the Swedish company behind it all. He wants to tell the truth and wholeheartedly takes action for this cause which he deems righteous for the people with whom he lived. In 2009, he made the film Toxic Playground together with his codirector William Johansson Kalén, to raise the matter of this pollution disaster. This film found its way to a courtroom where it was used as evidence in the case against Boliden.

What we can say is special about the structure of this film, is that it covers a long time span. Yoselyn, who we meet as a young girl, names her first child after the directors. Boliden’s previous chief sustainability officer is deemed jointly responsible for shipping off the toxic waste. In 2009, he travelled to Arica with the directors, to face the consequences of that decision. Ten years later, he seems less firmly in the saddle.

Arica is the perfect example of investigative journalism. The directors try to uncover important hidden facts, but they also wonder where to draw the line between director, friend and fellow man. This courageous documentary sheds light on a grievous case of modern colonialism.

Lars Edman, William Johansson Kalén
97 min
Swedish, Spanish, English
  • Caution with children up to 16 years of age

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Lars Edman, William Johansson Kalén


Facts and points of view alternate with beautiful aerial shots accompanied by a lucid voice-over

Davide Abbatescianni - Cineuropa