Recensione: Transforming Tomorrow
- Nel suo film vincitore del premio AJB DOC, il regista bosniaco Dino Mustafić rivela come ArcelorMittal sia supportato dal governo locale nelle sue operazioni illegali e pericolose per l'ambiente
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The winning film of the Al Jazeera Balkans Programme Jury Award at the AJB DOC Film Festival (see the news), Transforming Tomorrow, takes its bitterly ironic name from the motto of the multinational steelworks giant ArcelorMittal. It has been operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a shocking lack of social and environmental responsibility thanks to a familiar combination of arrogant corporate unaccountability and corruption in the highest echelons of government. This is the topic of the 48-minute documentary helmed by acclaimed Bosnian theatre and film director Dino Mustafić.
The two parallel storylines are related to the two main protagonists. In Zenica, Bosnia's third-largest city, which has been home to steel mills since the early 20th century, environmental activist and head of local NGO Eco-Forum Samir Lemeš is struggling to bring the company to account. Despite the official reports stating that AcelorMittal plants’ emissions of pollutive substances are 17 times higher than the levels permitted in Bosnia and Herzegovina (and 42 times higher than EU standards), the criminal charges are dismissed by the local court as a minor offence.
Meanwhile, in the city of Prijedor in Bosnia's Serbian entity Republika Srpska, Mersad Duratović, a survivor of the Omarska concentration camp, where hundreds of Bosniaks were killed during the 1990s war, is also fighting the company that now owns the Omarska steel-ore mine. They are not allowing survivors to visit the former camp, except some parts of it once a year, even though not all of the victims’ remains have been recovered.
In both cases, the corporation and the government have made token gestures towards the community that they never fulfilled. Instead of installing the filters they promised ten years ago, ArcelorMittal funded the building of the oncological ward in Zenica hospital, despite claiming their operations did not represent a health hazard. The public health body supports them, blaming an increase in respiratory disease and cancer cases on cigarettes.
In Prijedor, ArcelorMittal announced it would build a memorial centre for concentration-camp victims. This has never been constructed, and the fact that the mine is located in the Serbian part of Bosnia, where the public would hardly exert much pressure in this matter, makes it easier for both the government and the corporation. In the chilling finale, borrowed from a TV interview, Duratović raises the very plausible possibility that physical remains of the camp victims have ended up in the ArcelorMittal Orbit monument in London, which was built from steel coming from its branches in all countries of the world, in celebration of the 2012 Olympics.
Mustafić has managed to succinctly include all of this in the brief running time, and much more, including a method of tax and concession fee evasion employed by the mining company, and testimonies from cancer-stricken citizens of Zenica. Although this is a pure TV documentary, the director tastefully utilises some creative camera angles, and finds room for eerie passages comprising smoky footage of the Zenica cityscape and a discordant solo piano score.
Transforming Tomorrow was produced by Bosnia's Udruženje za kulturu i umjetničko stvaralaštvo Pan.
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