The Golden Triangle: Forbidden Land of Opium

The fabled Golden Triangle of southeast Asia is the home of heroin, morphine, and a host of amphetamines. One corner rests in northern Thailand, another in the jungles of Laos and the third is lodged deep in the mountains of Myanmar, once known as Burma. On the rugged hillsides and in remote clearings, rippling seas of golden poppies grow. Soon their sap will be turned into opium and heroin and will make its way to the back streets of the world's urban ghettos. Shielded by jungles, mountains and many private armies, the area is still the fiefdom of drug lords and their cronies, where conflict is the norm and everyone is armed.

The section of the triangle in Myanmar, has traditionally been the biggest, most productive and, in recent years, the most foreboding. A kind of no-man's land and a haven for drug lords, it has become a monument to monoculture - the cultivation of opium.

But times are changing for the opium world. The world community is seeking to curtail the yearly crop of poppies and introduce crop substitution as a viable alternative for poppies. One by one, the drug warlords are making peace and disbanding their armies.

This film focuses on the opium growers themselves, tribal people who are currently caught in this moment of change when opium may well cease to be their staff of life. They relate what it is like to live in a culture of opium where everyone is a grower, or trader, or user or all three. A mini Las Vegas has grown up in a boom town called Mongla where gambling is a flourishing legal local industry filled with Chinese tourists.

Formerly known as: "Flowers of Death."

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"The film is recommended for the significant commentary it makes on the pervasive effects of drugs in society, even in the societies that have no choice but to participate in the cultivation of illegal substances"--Educational Media Reviews Online

The Golden Triangle: Forbidden Land of Opium


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