Hazaribagh, Toxic Leather

Hazaribagh, Toxic Leather image

(52 min.) Bangladesh/France

Director: Elise Darblay, Eric de Lavarene
Producer: Veronique Mauduy


Hazaribagh is giant slum of Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh. The increasing production costs in China have pushed this slum to one of the first world leather-producing rank. Garments and accessories, mainly intended for the European market, bring in more than 350 millions euros per year to Bangladesh. In archaic conditions, the workers work at least twelve hours a day for forty euros per month. Cancer, congenital malformation, ulcers, and many other illnesses will catch and kill them before they are fifty. Hazaribagh became a sanitary and environmental drama scene, and European and Bengali authorities seem to ignore it. This is a story about the everyday life of those men and women who live in one of the world’s top most polluted areas.


Elise Darblay is an author of various documentaries and has been an assistant director for over five years. She worked on various series thirteen- to twenty-six minute TV reports, including one in Nagorno Karabakh that explores the issues of a country auto-proclaimed independent in the heart of hostile Azerbaidjan. Elise then became one of the directors for Yann Arthus Bertrand's 7 billion Others, a world-scale project covering the UN Millennium Development Goals. She is currently working for WA Productions, writing and directing series of documentaries on the new human and environmental issues of our world.

Eric de Lavarene left for Cambodia during the peace process and became a journalist by working in a monthly magazine, which was published in Phnom Penh. He went back to Paris after four years to work with a new magazine and work in TV. For two years, he worked with Aina, an NGO media centre, training Afghan journalists and also working as a correspondent for radio France. Since 2003, he has covered the war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan for French public radio. He created various documentaries in the region: The Hunt of Ben Laden, The Country of the Taliban and Islamization of Pakistan. He is just finishing a documentary for French public television showing how NATO forces lost the war in Afghanistan.