I could easily summarize this documentary as “David vs Goliath”. However as a highly paid internet writer my audience expects more but certainly less than the 7 pages of notes I wrote on the film.
I’ll keep it simple.
Maxima Acuña and her family live in a remote part of the Peruvian highlands living off their land in a traditional and backbreaking way. Unfortunately, the second largest goldmine in the world, American owned, wants to expand as its strip mining operations are running out of gold. One problem they need Maxima’s land and the lakes in the area are filled with gold they want which would destroy the lake and cause water supply issues to the local town and farmers.
Maxima does not want to surrender her land. The mine owners and their security forces launch a vicious harassment programme destroying her crops and property and physically assaulting Maxima and her family and laying all sorts of legal charges along the line of abusive harassment. The mine owners have the audacity to block off public roads and ask for ID trying to prevent journalists from visiting Maxima. The abuse is quite frankly obscene, offensive, greedy, dangerous and attempts to humiliate and wear down Maxima. Political corruption scandals are disclosed.
However the owners of the mine and Peruvian politicians and judiciary appear surprised that this Peruvian peasant has garnered an international movement of human right activists. She travels to the United States to seek justice and explanations from the WORLD Bank which is a part owner of the mine and whose role is to alleviate poverty and maintain water quality throughout the world but their response was go away as we trust the owners of the mine are doing the right thing. This is despite the fact of mercury spills, discharge of contaminated water laden with heavy metals and remarkably high cancer rates amongst the miners and local population.
This is an expose of “The Ugly American” in horrific and nasty proportions. Maxima struggles on in the court system. But watch this documentary and you will be sickened by the acts of an American megacorp but you may be inspired by Maxima fighting a monstrous force with her courage and persistence to save her way of life and the land she and her family live on.
You can watch this film for free but must reserve tickets through HOT DOCS TED ROGERS Cinema website. The Festival runs from February 18-22.You can learn about the films in the Festival by checking out their website https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/01/14/18th-annual-toronto-human-rights-watch-film-festival#:~:text=The%2018th%20annual%20Toronto%20Human%20Rights%20Watch%20Film,that%20will%20be%20completely%20digital%20for%20the%20.
You can see the trailer here https://www.dropbox.com/s/izawxe48m0m0bni/MAXIMA%20TRAILER%20%28720p%20with%2023fps%29.mp4?dl=0