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devil's miner, THE

Germany / USA, 2004 (MIFF 2005, Documentaries)

Director: Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson

It's believed that eight million workers have perished in the mines of Cerro Rico, Bolivia, since it opened in the 16th century. Each day the miners sever their ties with God upon entering the mountain, according to an ancient belief that the devil determines the fate of all who work within the mines. It is to the devil that they tender their prayers and offerings. [The Devil's Miner] is the story of 14-year-old Basilio Vargas and his younger brother Bernardino, as they work the 20,000-tunnelled honeycomb that is Cerro Rico. Raised without a father and living with their mother on the slopes of the mine, the boys assume many adult responsibilities. Basilio believes only the mountain devil's generosity will allow them to earn enough money to continue the new school year. [The Devil's Miner] was the winner of the Fipresci Award at Hot Docs. "A study in courage and a harrowing portrait, The Devil's Miner is an unforgettable journey through hell under the earth, where Satan is worshipped as king." - Variety
D/P Richard Ladkani, Kief Davidson WS Urban Landscapes L Spanish w/English subtitles TD video/col/2004/82mins

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