Film: Where Heaven Meets Hell (2011)

April 30, 2012 | By

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Film: Very Good/ DVD Transfer: n/a/ DVD Extras: n/a

Label: n/a/ Region: n/a / Released: n/a

Genre: Documentary / HotDocs

Synopsis: Visually striking documentary on Indonesia’s sulfer miners.

Special Features: n/a




Briefly showcased in the BBC documentary series Human Planet [M] (2010) and a known tourist draw for exotic travelers, the sulfur mines inside Indonesia’s active Kawah Ijen volcano resemble a beautifully hellish vision from some inner-Earth novel where men hack out chunks of fresh sulfur deposits from nearby fissures and pipes and carry them down precarious foot-carved trails to a station for further processing.

First-time director Sasha Friedlander chose a discretionary approach to film four separate miners with shared backgrounds, eschewing narration and external interviews which leave a few gaping factual holes (such as sulfur’s biological repercussions on the miners’ bodies), but the doc makes its impact through a careful arrangement of stunning visuals and emotionally intimate moments with the miners and their families. Where Heaven Meets Hell isn’t a drama about the environment; it’s a plea for better working conditions and the kind of basic human needs already mandatory in Europe and North America.



© 2012 Mark R. Hasan


External References:

IMDB Official WebsiteHotDocs Entry


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