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Movie Review: Mine Your Own Business

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Mine Your Own Business is a fascinating examination of the motivation and end result of extreme environmentalist paranoia about the mining industry. In it we see how caring and sharing environmentalists feel the need to tell people in the poorest parts of the world that they do not deserve good modern jobs and should go back to subsistence farming whether or not it was ever possible to do this in the area in which they live.

The documentary was directed, produced, and written by Phelim McAleer, a former journalist for the Financial Times in the UK who grew up in Northern Ireland. Over of the course of the documentary he becomes more and more disillusioned with the environmentalists he interviews regarding the various mining projects covered in the film. The irony is that not one of the environmentalists interviewed actually lives in the area they are pontificating about, none have ever actually set foot there. This is only overshadowed by some of the untruths these people spew. The contrast between the actual inhabitants and the patronizing mentality of the environmentalists cannot be underestimated.

In an interesting twist, a denizen of the Romanian town first covered tags along with the filmmaker to both Madagascar and Chile, the other two proposed mine locations. The scenes of him chatting to the anti-mine types makes for quite compelling viewing. It's not all doom and gloom, however, as there are some amusing shots of George hanging out on the beach in Madagascar as his new colleague heads off to Britain, while George cannot get a visa. To be quite honest, he did not seem to be too perturbed.

There is good subtitling throughout, although some of the Spanish is slightly mis-translated, causing it to lose some of its impact. One small quibble is that the host's Northern Ireland accent can be a bit heavy at times and could use a bit of subtitling itself for those a wee bit hard of hearing or not used to the accent.

This film is well worth viewing and is an excellent piece of documentary filmmaking.

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