The Ashio Copper Mine (足尾銅山, Ashio Dōzan) was a copper mine located in the town of Ashio, Tochigi, (now part of the city of Nikkō, Tochigi), in the northern Kantō region of Japan. It was significant as the site of Japan’s first major pollution disaster in the 1880s and the scene of the 1907 miners riots. The pollution disaster led to the birth of the Japanese environmental movement and the 1897 Third Mine Pollution Prevention Order. The pollution incident also triggered changes in the mine’s operations that played a role in the 1907 riots, which became part of a string of mining disputes in 1907. During World War Two the mine was worked by POW forced labour.
Iwate Prefecture may be known as a place devastated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, but it’s coming back better and stronger than ever.
Iwate is a large prefecture on the northeastern coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island. The southern city of Hiraizumi contains a rich architectural legacy from its period as a political center in the 11th and 12th centuries, including Chūson-ji Temple and the adjacent Mōtsū-ji Temple. Northeast, the city of Tōno was the birthplace of many folk tales, now recounted in traditional surrounds at its Old Tales Village.
The Arctic is one of the most fascinating regions on our planet, and one of the most threatened. Two film crews explore its spectacular wilderness in a two-part documentary. Part one takes viewers from Norway’s Svalbard archipelago to Siberia. The region around the North Pole is one of the greatest and least-known wildernesses in the world, and it’s rapidly changing due to global warming.
The retreat of Arctic sea ice can be observed everywhere along the Arctic Circle, presenting those who live there with dramatic changes. This documentary takes viewers on a journey through the Arctic circle and explores those changes. It begins in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, a place to see one of nature’s most spectacular displays — the northern lights. With the ice retreating, cruise ships can now travel further north than was previously possible. This places a strain on the fragile ecosystem.
But more visitors may also mean more awareness about the risks that face the region, and more motivation to protect the Arctic. But as if often the case, protecting nature in the Arctic is at odds with economic interests. Russia, in particular, is keen to sell Arctic fossil fuels to the rest of world. The film next takes viewers to the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia, where the Russian company Novatek has built the northernmost industrial facility on the globe.
Further East in Yakutia, two noises fill the air: the relentless buzzing of mosquitoes that infest the Siberian tundra in summer, and the steady dripping of the thawing permafrost on the banks of the Kolyma River. The film’s journey ends in Chukotka in the northeast of Russia, a region closer to Alaska than to the Russian capital Moscow.
Michael Portillo embarks on a rail journey through Germany, steered by a Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Guide published in 1936. His unique window on Europe between the world wars takes him through a tumultuous period in German history, when the nation’s first democracy and its vibrant culture of art, design and decadence were swept away by fascism, nationalism and the increasing likelihood of war.
In a vast stadium, Michael hears how new rail lines were constructed to transport crowds of spectators to the Nazi Olympic Games of 1936. Michael learns how a planned boycott by the United States and other European nations failed and how the success of a black American athlete undermined the Nazi ideology of Aryan superiority.
At the Museum of Modern Art in Berlin’s Kreuzberg, Michael sees how a leading artist of the era, George Grosz, warned of the rise of fascism in a haunting self-portrait. Michael goes to the movies in Potsdam and discovers the success of the Babelsberg Studios, where directors such as Fritz Lang and stars such as Marlene Dietrich worked. He hears how production was taken over by the Nazis for propaganda.
In the Schöneberg district of the capital, Michael researches the decadent night scene of the 1920s, where sexual freedoms attracted gay and lesbian visitors from across the world. Michael sees how cabaret culture is being revived today – a burlesque performance is on the bill. At the birthplace of German democracy in Weimar,
Michael investigates the beginnings of Bauhaus design and visits the movement’s first building – a single-family house which went beyond a statement of style to present a vision of how people would live in the 20th century. Travelling with author Julia Boyd to Nuremberg, Michael discovers that during the 1930s, despite the First World War and the Third Reich, Britons and Americans loved Germany and German culture.
Michael hears how one Briton above all was welcomed by Hitler to Germany – the Duke of Windsor, former King Edward VIII. In the medieval Bavarian city of Nuremberg, Michael visits the monumental buildings and parade grounds, which were the stage for vast Nazi rallies to publicise the regime around the world and arouse popular support at home.
Michael finishes in Stuttgart, where an ambitious engineering project is under way, which will integrate the city into a high-speed train route connecting Paris with Bratislava. Michael bags a ride in a high-performance Porsche to the manufacturer’s Stuttgart headquarters and discovers that in the 1930s, the founder designed an affordable car for mass production – the Beetle.
A film by: Maceo Frost, Henning Sandström & Freddie Meadows
Produced by Freddie Meadows, Sand Film & Nuet film in collaboration with New-Land. Director of Photography: Henning Sandström
Live to Sea – A saga that follows Freddie Meadows on his tireless quest along the rugged edges of Sweden, in search of the region’s greatest waves; one of the final frontiers within surfing.
“This journey has been long and beautiful. A journey that I feel in many ways has just begun; the majority of which remains undocumented due to the mystical nature and spontaneity of the Baltic Sea. It was early autumn of 2019, I was anchored behind an island when the name Live to Sea came to mind. It was the perfect description of what I do, of what all of us surfers do in some way. Live to Sea is for anyone and everyone who feels connected to the ocean, sea or any waters. For me this film is a tribute to the missions and moments that went unseen. Most importantly it is a tribute to the magic of nature and the sea. “
I think of myself in the Mexican way, not as an old man but as most Mexicans regard a senior, an hombre de juicio, a man of judgment; not ruco, worn out, beneath notice, someone to be patronised, but owed the respect traditionally accorded to an elder, someone (in the Mexican euphemism) of La Tercera Edad, the Third Age, who might be called Don Pablo or tío (uncle) in deference. Mexican youths are required by custom to surrender their seat to anyone older. They know the saying: Más sabe el diablo por viejo, que por diablo – The devil is wise because he’s old, not because he’s the devil.
But “Stand aside, old man, and make way for the young” is the American way.
I was that old gringo. I was driving south in my own car in Mexican sunshine along the straight sloping road through the thinly populated valleys of the Sierra Madre Oriental – the whole craggy spine of Mexico is mountainous. Valleys, spacious and austere, were forested with thousands of single yucca trees, the so-called dragon yucca (Yucca filifera) that Mexicans call palma china. I pulled off the road to look closely at them and wrote in my notebook: I cannot explain why, on the empty miles of these roads, I feel young.