May 12, 2008 (limited)
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Since the early '80s, the rusting hulks of thousands of the world's largest ships have been driven onto the remote beaches of Alang, India, to be dismantled, piece by piece by a small army of poorly equipped workers. Sold for scrap, the ship owners rarely bother to abide by the UN Basel Convention, which bans shipments of trans-boundary waste.
One worker a day, on average, dies on the job, some from explosions or falls, but many will contract cancers caused by asbestos, PCBs and other toxic substances.
As visually mesmerizing as it is compelling, Shipbreakers vividly captures both the haunting beauty of the ships and the deplorable conditions of the workers -- in an unforgettable portrayal where Third World ingenuity meets 21st century global economics.