24 September 2006 | rkeller87
Excellent documentary on coffee from its source to your cup
Black Gold is an astounding look at what it means for the powerful at WTO talks to set a price of $0.22 for a kilo of coffee on the world market.
You might think this topic could grow dull, but it never does: The pairing of these stories and the well composed score keep you on edge throughout the film.
The film follows a fellow who markets coffee from an Ethiopian collective, and his message is simple: Africans are not getting fairly compensated for their crops on the world market. Prices for their commodities are artificially low, keep Africans dependent on U.S. aid, and demean an entire people by not paying them what they are worth.
It's not his impassioned words that haunt you, however, but instead the toddler girl who gets weighed -- and sent home with her mother and no help because she's only "semi-malnourished" and doesn't qualify for aid.
It's the fellow hacking out an beautiful coffee patch to clear it for growing chat, a narcotic leaf that folks chew to feel better and that commands a higher income per acre than coffee.
This documentary is definitely worth seeing if you are at all interested in how your cup of Starbucks got into your hand.
Incidentally, this is destined to be a minor classic in food journalism as well -- it's a must-see for the conscientious omnivore.