Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
Viewers might handle their non-stick frypans with a touch more trepidation after Stephanie Soechtig’s blood-boiling corporate exposé. Putting the insidious inner workings of mega-corporation DuPont under fire, The Devil We Know reveals decades of top-level mismanagement and environmental contamination. The eponymous devil is a chemical compound called C8, which has been used for years in the production of DuPont’s Teflon kitchenware, 3M’s Scotchgard, and a large range of water-resistant materials.
When C8 was proven to be linked to deformities in newborns and various lethal health conditions, DuPont not only denied the negative effects but also ramped up production, resulting in the widespread pollution of neighbouring waterways and the irreversible contamination of workers. Told with a bracing urgency and a clear-headed empathy for its victims, Soechtig’s film is a damning reminder of the major toll that regular people pay for modern civilisation’s minor conveniences. — JF
“Mixing footage of public hearings, news reports and corporate ads, plus input from scientists and activists, The Devil We Know is a riveting tale of long-term irresponsibility and injustice... Soechtig presents an unusually engrossing docu for this type of subject, with human interest always in the forefront despite the complex timeline of events, issues and information presented. The director, whose prior docs Under the Gun and Fed Up were also well-received exposés (of the gun lobby and obesity-promoting food industries), presides over an expert assembly that’s sharp in every department.” — Dennis Harvey, Variety