The film is replete with stunning visuals of a landscape that has rarely been captured on film, and never to the extent seen here. The spectacular setting only provides brief visual respites from the film’s heartbreaking subject matter.
The concerns and daily struggles of the miners are a microcosm of labor injustices and health hazards found throughout the world. Few mining sites, however, are also major tourism meccas. Hundreds of tourists flock to Kawah Ijen daily to trek with guides and view the dramatic vistas. As we watch Anto and Purnomo interact with these western eco-tourists on a daily basis, it’s clear that the splendor of the scenery obscures for them the suffering and poverty of the miners. Ambitions and aspirations aside, each character in the film shares the same universal desires – caring for their family and providing a life worth living to those who depend on them.