Polluting Paradise | Chicago Reader

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93 minutes · 2012

Documentary
Originally released as Garbage in the Garden of Eden, this Turkish documentary by Fatih Akin records the environmental devastation of Camburnu, a picturesque village where the director's paternal grandparents once lived. Akin shot this over five years (from 2007 to 2012) to chart the town's ongoing deterioration after the mayor allowed an abandoned copper mine to be turned into a shoddily constructed garbage dump. The results are uniformly dire: toxins leak into the local groundwater, a horrible stench pervades the region, and long-time residents move away en masse. Yet Akin brings to the movie the same casual pacing and warm feeling for community he displays in his dramas (Head-On, Soul Kitchen), which makes this surprisingly light and engaging despite its upsetting content. In Turkish with subtitles.

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