Sunday, October 30, 2005
Darwin's Nightmare: The Horrors of Globalization
"Harrowing" and "indispensable" The New York Times
Hubert Sauper's 2004 documentary Darwin's Nightmare is a journey into the dark heart of Tanzania and the effects of market globalization on the ecology, economy and lives of Tanzanians living around Lake Victoria, the largest tropical fresh-water lake in Africa. Lake Victoria, once home to an extraordinary diversity of fish species has been devastated by the introduction of Nile Perch into the lake. This cannibalistic fish has since the 1960's destroyed all competitors in the lake, slowly choking it of oxygen, and perversely becoming in the that same period the number one export from Tanzania to the EU. At the time of the filming, Tanzanian fisheries were producing hundreds of ton of Nile Perch for export every day. And the most inhuman irony of all is that Tanzanians starve on the carcasses and heads of the fish while the filets are shipped to Europe.
Into this already horrific stew international arms dealers dump literally tons of weapons and ammunition every day, which arrives on the very same transport planes that carry off the food to Europe. As one character, a Russian transport pilot ruefully notes in the film, "The children of African receive ammunition for Christmas while European children receive grapes." The shameful and terrifying links between international arms marketing, global "free" trade policies, famine, international aid to Africa and the fate of millions of African children left to live feral lives racked by hunger, violence, survival sex and the ravages of HIV/AIDS are all brought to light in this courageous and singularly important film. If its playing in your town or if you can get on DVD, do so immediately, Better yet, let this morally outraging film spur you to take action. Do something: buy fair trade products, buy local, become aware, and for Goddess' sake, wear a condom! It’s heartening to think film can still feel this important.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Nollywood takes off: Nigerian film industry overtakes Bollywood
At 26, Genevieve Nnaji has starred in 60-plus films in Nigeria's Nollywood, an industry bigger than Bollywood
From the Globe and Mail: A thousand films and one queen
"With all of the anxiety about the past year's box-office lull, film-industry types have been preoccupied enough to overlook a major shift in the global cinema landscape. It has long been true that India's national film industry (often referred to as Bollywood) produces the largest number of features per year, at approximately 800, followed by the United States, which puts out about 400 films per annum.
But pulling into first place is Nigeria, a contender some might find unlikely. Buoyed by a voracious appetite among Nigerians (population: 128 million) for their own stories, and bolstered by the proliferation of video equipment -- allowing for less expensive production costs -- this developing nation's burgeoning film business now produces a whopping 1,000 features a year."
Picked this one up from the Art Journal