Aileen Smith, Johnny Depp Team Up on New Movie Telling the Tragic Story of Minamata
“I’ll just talk my head off, so please just ask away,” Aileen Mioko Smith said as we sat in an office dedicated to interviews sometime in July.
We were here to discuss the film Minamata (Longride, 2020), released in Japan on September 23, starring Johnny Depp and directed by Andrew Levitas. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2020, but a wider release was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The film focuses on the work of W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978) and Aileen Smith, documenting members of the population affected by mercury poisoning in Minamata on the island of Kyushu.
The story is loosely based on the book Minamata, co-authored by W. Eugene Smith and Aileen Mioko Smith, first published in 1975 by Holt, Reinhart and Winston, and newly printed by Crevis Publishing in Japanese in September 2021.
The film covers the time when…