A mercury spill within the village of Choropampa during 2000 from a silver mine in the Andes is carried downslope to those living immediately below, producing blindness and other forms of sickness. In Altiplano the event is portrayed within a fictional Turubamba, Perú, where non-Spanish-speaking indigenous people center their lives around a Catholicism that puts much stress on the Virgin Mary. A clinic run by foreigners provides cataract operations, but none of the ophthalmologists is a general practitioner. When some die, they revolt against the only outsiders they know—the physicians, not the miners. One ophthalmologist is killed by the mob, whereupon the clinic closes, leaving the native people to cope with traditional if ineffective resources, and the mining continues operation as before. An independent film, the plot is never spelled out but unfolds so slowly without a narrator that filmviewers may be tempted to leave long before the end, as clueless as those depicted in the film. The physicians, who at one point blame themselves for not collecting data to present to authorities in order to stop the mining malpractice, evidently did not attend a class in social health at medical school, for they should have immediately petitioned for a clean up of the contamination by bringing the health crisis to the attention of the mining company (an employee of which attests that he never heard of Turubamba), Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, or some other organization. Directors Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope Woodworth clearly miss an opportunity in their story and screenplay to effect filmviewer empowerment; they instead focus on anthropological aspects. Thereby, they are complicit in promoting a feeling of helplessness, demonstrating the veracity of what Edmund Burke predicted would happen whenever “good men do nothing.”.
1.37GB | 1 h 46 min | 640×336 | avi
Language(s):Spanish, Quechua, French, English, Persian