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National Film Board

Bhopal - The Search for Justice

Lindalee Tracey & Peter Raymont / Canada / 2004 / 52 ' / English - Hindi / S.T. English

Credits

Michael Fuller
Lindalee Tracey, Peter Raymont, Harold Crooks & Claude Bonin

Awards & Festivals

2005, FICA - International Festival of Environmental Films & Videos, Best Medium Length Film, Goias - Brazil

Upcoming Screenings

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In Production

The film explores the haunting human cost of the multinational polluter DOW Chemical in Bhopal, India.

Synopsis

On December 2, 1984, the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India leaked poisonous methyl isocyanate gas killing fifteen thousand helpless men, women and children. Hundreds of thousands more were permanently maimed. Bhopal was, and remains, the world’s worst chemical industry disaster.

Twenty years later, survivors and their families are being re-victimized by the deliberate thwarting of scientific and medical studies concerning the disaster. To this day, they have been denied definitive information about the precise composition of the leaked gas and its long-term effects. Each day, children are born with defects that may be related to the gas leak. Beautiful Bhopal, once known as the “City of Mosques” is a sad, disgraceful testament to the absence of environmental and human justice - very much a place where “the world stopped watching”.

"Bhopal: The Search for Justice", straddles the intersection between science, politics and human rights. Exploring charges of corruption, graft and greed, the film follows Raajkumar Keswani, the local journalist whose prediction of the Union Carbide disaster proved prophetic. Set against the rich visual tapestry of India, Keswani travels through the Indian bastiis where the poorest victims live, and to the offices of frustrated doctors and scientists. Finally he makes his first trip to North America in search of answers.

As activists protest and demand justice from DOW Chemical (which now owns Union Carbide), Keswani documents the legacy of the gas leak - the continued pollution of drinking water sources; gas widows trying to survive on inadequate settlements; the possibility that second and third generation children are growing up with genetic abnormalities caused by the gas.

The film's subjects articulate their desperate need for the truth. Bhopal is a wound that continues to worsen. Beyond the initial horror and devastation of the gas tragedy is the spreading damage of environmental and genetic assault. At stake is more than fair compensation and long-term rehabilitation for the afflicted – “Bhopal” has become a rallying cry for post 9/11 concerns about chemical industry security and industrial pollution. Ultimately, the horrific gas leak at Union Carbide imposed a "chemical trespass" of the human body that demands greater regulation by governments and responsibility from multinational corporations.

 

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