Film on Minamata Disease to Be Screened at Berlin Festival

Society Culture

Berlin, Feb. 20 (Jiji Press)--A British movie featuring Minamata disease, a serious illness caused by mercury poisoning and named after the Japanese city where it was first discovered, will premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival that started Thursday.

"Minamata" starring Johnny Depp will be screened in the special gala section of the festival.

Depp plays W. Eugene Smith, a U.S. photographer who documented the disease. Japanese actors such as Hiroyuki Sanada and Tadanobu Asano are also in the movie.

Decades ago, many people in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, suffered neurological disorder after eating seafood tainted with mercury discharged from a local plant.

The winner of the Golden Bear, the film festival's top prize, will be announced on Feb. 29. No Japanese movies are among 18 films competing for the award.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press Minamata disease W. Eugene Smith