Satanic Silver

In the United States, miners rely on their employers and/or unions to make conditions more like a workplace and less like a death trap. But in Bolivia, there’s a different type of workers comp plan – devil worship. And in the eye-opening documentary Devil’s Miner, directors Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani get inside the devil’s layer known as the Cerro Rico silver mines, a place of work, worship, and worry.

If Satan worship in the workplace seems wrong, it’s actually the lesser of the film’s two evils. What’s worse is that two young brothers must work in the mines to support their fatherless family. The boys, 14-year-old Basilio and 12-year-old Bernardino, are well aware that working day and night in the dust-filled caves leads to an early death (read: silicosis). When not working, the brothers attend school, hoping to one day leave the mines for good. Until then, the boys give the devil offerings of coca leaves, cigarettes, alcohol, and – with the help of other miners and family members – a freshly sacrificed llama. What, did you think Satan was a vegetarian?

Devil’s Miner is shown Friday through Sunday at Cinema Paradiso (503 NE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale). Call 954-525-FILM, or visit
April 21-23

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Jason Budjinski