Directed by Lee Hersch. 108 minutes. Rated PG-13. Standard number: 012236144984
Winner of the Audience Award and Freedom of Expression Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, this documentary is about the about the music that sustained and inspired people struggling against apartheid in South Africa for more than 40 years. The film has interviews with musicians and activists, and uses both archived and recent footage to create a vibrant and stirring story. Music is not just the subject of Amandla!, but a force that runs through the film. The power of these voices is not easy to forget.
You can find out more about Amandla! in this IMDB review.
Look for Amandla! at your local video store, library, netflix, or Blockbuster Video.
Argentina: Hope in Hard Times (2004)
Directed by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young. 74 minutes. This film is not rated. ISBN (DVD): 1-59458-0626
This is a documentary film recording the responses of ordinary people to Argentina's 2002 economic crash. It showcases their strategies for self-preservation, and the active communities that they found when they thought that they had lost everything. Argentines from many different backgrounds tell the story of the country's collapse and what happened next.
The projects which Argentines undertook in the face of structural breakdown are diverse and inspired. The hope that they offer is not just for their struggling friends and neighbors, but for people who wonder what can be done without the systems of support and security that we are used to relying on.
You can read a film review on Zmag.
Look for Argentina: hope in hard times at your local video store, library, or through Bullfrog Films.
Life and Debt (2003)
Directed by Stephanie Black. 86 minutes. This film is not rated. Standard number: 717119830342 ISBN: 1567303110
Life and Debt is a film about life in Jamaica—the real life that has little to do with the spotless hotel resorts that tourists see. This film shows how the small island country is caught in the web of international systems more so than it is a part of the global network. The story that filmaker Stephanie Black tells here, with the help of a former president, farmers, intellectuals, factory workers, and others, is painful but never pathetic. Excerpts from the award-winning non-fiction book A Small Place by Jamaica Kincade give an acerbic and comic edge to the film; in all Life and Debt is the story of a difficult situation.
You can read more about this film on its website, or in this filmcritic.com review.
You can find Life and Debt at your local video store, library, netflix, or Blockbuster Video.
Directed by Ron Fricke. 96 minutes. This film is not rated. ISBN 1562788272
Baraka is a Sufi word for something similar to "breath of life" or "blessing." Director Fricke uses images and sound gathered from 24 different countries to create a sort of collage of life which he has called a "guided meditation." Mesmerizing and overwhelming at times, the film has no narrative. It simply presents viewers with scenes from all over the world, strange and beautiful and painful. The diversity of the images fits together in a surprisingly easy way, and the parts of this film come together as a whole in a way that brings the planet itself to mind.
You can read more about this film on its website, or in this Washington Post review.
Look for Baraka at your local video store, library, netflix, or Blockbuster Video.
The Fog of War: Eleven lessons from the life of Robert S. McNamara (2003)
Directed by Errol Morris. 105 minutes. Rated PG-13. ISBN number: 1404941665 Standard number. 043396019164
As the Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, and through his work with the World Bank, Robert S. McNamara has seen some of the most pivotal events of the 20th century from up close. Award-winning film maker Errol Morris uses archival footage, White House recordings, recreations, and interviews as he and a very sharp-minded Mr. McNamara discuss war and human nature. Themes addressed here are intimately tied to specific events in US history, but also transcend issues of nationality.
The Fog of War was awarded the 2004 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It was also named Best Documentary by the National Board of Review, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics, and the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics.
You can read more about this film on its website.
You can find The Fog of War at your local video store, library, netflix, or Blockbuster Video.
Control Room (2004)
Directed by Jehane Noujaim. 84 minutes. This film is not rated. Standard no. 031398169321 00
Al-Jazeera is called the most important news channel in the Arab world. It is an independent news source, not a government-sponsored one, and it has been banned for portions of the past year by six Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It has been also been accused by Washington of provoking anti-US sentiments, charges which Al-Jazeera denies. Noujaim uses Al-Jazeera's coverage to produce an eye-opening film about different perceptions of the war in Iraq.
You can read more about this film in this Roger Ebert review.
You can find Control Room at your local video store, library, netflix, or at Blockbuster Video.
A Decent Factory (2005)
Directed by Thomas Balmès. 79 minutes. This film is not rated.
When Finnish electronics firm Nokia sends a team led by two business ethics advisors to examine conditions at a Chinese factory which supplies them with parts, filmmaker Thomas Balmès comes along. The result is A Decent Factory—the story of a company that asks itself how it can balance its profit motive with its social responsibility. The film is painted in shades of ethical grays, and there are no easy answers for either Nokia or for viewers.
You can read more about this film in this Variety review.
You can find A Decent Factory at your local video store, library, or on netflix.
Born into Brothels: Calcutta's red light kids (2004)
Directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman. 85 minutes. Rated R.
Zana Briski, a photojournalist from New York, spent several years in the red light district of Calcutta. During her time there, the children of local prostitutes were both her subjects and her collaborators. At weekly photography workshops between 2000 and 2003, the children learned camera basics, lighting, composition, the development of point-of-view, editing, and sequencing for narrative. With point-and-shoot 35mm cameras, they produced incredible work. This film is a chronicle both of their blossoming artistic lives and of Briski's efforts to get the children out of the red light district and into boarding school. It has won six awards, including the 2004 Academy for best documentary feature and the 2004 Sundance Film Festival award.
You can read more about Born into Brothels in this Roger Ebert review.
**Be sure to read the Global Envision article about The Work of The Global Fund For Children , one of the organizations that helped fund this documentary film.
To learn more about the kids' art, go to the Kids With Cameras website.
Look for Born into Brothels at your local video store, library, netflix, or at Blockbuster Video.
Mardi Gras Made in China (2005)
Directed by David Redmon. 72 minutes. This film is not rated.
This is an uncomfortable story about those ever-present Mardi Gras beads. Film maker David Redmon follows them from Chinese factories to wild celebrations and back. Currently this film is being used as a fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, but the picture it paints of the New Orleans that was is far from rosy.
You can learn about this film, and find out when it will play in your area, at its website .
**To learn more about this intriguing film, read the Global Envision article, An Interview with the Filmaker of Mardi Gras: Made in China.
Globalisation is Good (2001)
Written and presented by Johan Norberg. Directed by Charlotte Metcalf. 49 minutes. This film is not rated.
According to Swedish writer Johan Norberg, "The world is an unequal and unjust place, in which some are born into wealth and some into hunger and misery." In his search to find out why this inequality exists, he takes the viewers with him on a journey to Taiwan, Vietnam, Kenya and Brussels to see the impact of globalization, and the consequences of its absence.
The film primarily focuses on a comparison between Taiwan and Kenya. These two countries were equally poor 50 years ago, whereas now Taiwan is 20 times richer than Kenya. Much as he does in his books, Johan Norberg uses this film to make the case that the problem in the world is not too much globalization, but too little. The documentary was made as a program for the UK's Channel 4 TV.
You can learn about this film on Norberg's website.
Between Midnight and the Rooster's Crow (2005)
Directed by Nadja Drost. 66 minutes. This film is not rated.
Between Midnight and the Rooster's Crow is a troubling look into pollution and unsafe living conditions created by Canadian giant EnCana Corporation in pursuit oil in Ecuador, despite its ongoing rhetoric of social responsibility. The film follows the length of a pipeline which is being built to take oil to the ocean, where it can be sent via tankers to refineries and then to gas stations far and wide. The people that Canadian filmmaker Nadja Drost meets along the way lend their stories and experiences to her investigation of the reality behind this company's public relations campaign.
You can learn about this film or order a copy at First Run Icarus Films. Between Midnight and the Rooster's Crow is playing in theaters (Sept-Oct 2005).
Other sources for films about globalization issues are Economic Thinking Films, GRIID Films, Bullfrog Films, and First Run Icarus Films.
Article written by Beth Reddy, a recent graduate of Reed College and Global Envision Intern.
To read Global Envision's reading lists, see Books for the Global Citizen Reading List, and 2005 Global Envision Reader.
A portion of your proceeds will go to support Global Envision.
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