Kawah Ijen Sulphur miner

Kawah Ijen Sulphur miner (photo by Jean-Marie Hullot)

Michael Glawogger’s film “Ghosts” on AlJazeera is a fascinating portrait of the sulfur miners at Kawah Ijen – an active volcano in East Java, Indonesia. It’s a quiet film with authentic voices and eerie, haunting images of men scraping sulfur from the smoking mouth of the volcano and carrying their heavy baskets out of the caldera and down the mountain.  The men discuss bar brawls, music and the dangers of their job: “I can tell you exactly how it happened with a friend. He was breaking off chunks of sulphur. He suddenly slipped and fell into the boiling sulphur and was burned to  death.” Ghosts is part of AlJazeera’s series “Working Man’s Death” – an “unflinching portrait of physical labour in the 21st century”.

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