Minamata | Andrew Levitas Talks Eugene Smith, Industrial Environmental Disasters, & Working With Johnny Depp [Exclusive]

ILBE and Samuel Goldwyn Films partnered to release the film, Minamata.  This film features beloved actor Johnny Depp immersing himself into the role of the real-life celebrated photojournalist Eugene Smith. Taking place in the 70’s the film follows him as he takes his final assignment from Life Magazine. This takes him to Minamata, Japan. A city that has is being decimated by mercury poisoning in the water. We see his journey and struggles in capturing the images that expose decades of gross negligence by the country’s Chisso Corporation.

Minamata is directed by Andew Levitas. He does a great job at capturing the eye of Smith as he searches for the perfect shots to tell the story of the Minamata people. The film has a great blend of themes that will captivate audiences. The terrifying effects of mercury poisoning on the people and their willingness to fight despite often being ignored. Their unwavering desire to try and live a happy life despite the illnesses. The challenges of a man that seemingly is struggling to find a purpose late in his career. As we as the beauty of photography and a perspective of the trade that is not often seen in the film.



To learn more about Minamata, LRM Online‘s Emmanuel Gomez spoke with Andrew Levitas. He talk to us about one of the key things it took to make this film. Passion. Being that it includes big names in both US and Japanese cinema, Levitas assures us that with an independent film like this, the actors are not doing it for the money. It is about the passion they share for the project. He also shares his thoughts on Eugene Smith. As well as some of the cinematography choices that enhance the audience’s view to see what a Smith would have been looking at. It was a great conversation that you can check out down below!

Here is the official synopsis for Minamata

Inspired by a true story, Minamata stars Johnny Depp playing celebrated photojournalist Eugene Smith. The film takes place in 1971 when we find Smith as a recluse and disconnected from the world he once shot. After receiving one final assignment from Life Magazine editor Robert Hayes (Bill Nighy), Eugene must travel to the Japanese coastal city of Minamata, which has been ravaged by mercury poisoning. Ushered by an impassioned Japanese translator, Aileen (Minami) and encouraged by local villagers (Hiroyuki Sanada), Eugene’s powerful images expose decades of gross negligence by the country’s Chisso Corporation.

Minamata is now playing in theaters.
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