Jeremy Irons stands on a beach beside the ancient Lebanese city of Sidon. Above him towers a mountain of rubbish-a polluting eyesore of medical waste, household trash, toxic fluids and dead animals-the result of thirty years of consumption by just one small city out of how many in the world? As the day’s new consignments are tipped on top, debris tumbles off the side and into the blue of the Mediterranean. Surrounded by a vast reach of plastic bottles, a forlorn Jeremy Irons stares at the horizon. “Appalling,” he mutters.
In the new docu-feature TRASHED, a Blenheim Films production, produced and directed by British filmmaker Candida Brady (Madam and the Dying Swan), which has been selected to receive a Special Screening at the Cannes Film Festival this month, Irons sets out to discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem, as he travels around the world to beautiful destinations tainted by pollution. This is a meticulous, brave investigative journey that takes Irons (and us) from skepticism to sorrow and from horror to hope. Brady’s narrative is vividly propelled by an original score created by Academy Award winning composer Vangelis.
The beauty of our planet from space forms a violent contrast to the scenes of human detritus across the globe. Vast landscapes in China are covered in tons of rubbish. The wide waters of the Ciliwung River in Indonesia are now barely visible under a never-ending tide of plastic. Children swim among leaking bags; mothers wash in the sewage-filled supply. Each year, we now throw away fifty-eight billion disposable cups, billions of plastic bags, 200 billion litres of water bottles, billions of tons of household waste, toxic waste and e-waste.