Intrigued by a book read in childhood, and its photos of Amerindians, Swiss filmmaker Daniel Schweizer sets off to research the Wayanas, a tribe in French Guyana on the border with Surinam who are threatened by a health and ecological catastrophe. Clandestine gold-washers are discharging the mercury they use to separate the gold from the sand into the surrounding rivers, thus making the fish unfit for human consumption and putting the native inhabitants at risk of physical deformation and neurological disease. Alternating archival footage with contemporary material, Dirty Paradise portrays the age-old culture of these native people whose lives are being overturned by the gold-washers' intrusion into their land, and who respond by turning to ancestral rites. Through interviews with the Indians, doctors and gold-washers, this documentary reveals a human tragedy that is happening out of sight of the media.
Running time : 72'
Country : France
Year of production : 2009
Author/ Director : Daniel Schweizer
Production : Maha Productions DSCHOINT VENTSCHR FILMPRODUKTION, ZURICH, ARTE G.E.I.E. et SSR idée suisse
International Sales: Doc & Film International