Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Film Review: Crude

Charles A. Smith

"Crude," from filmmaker Joe Berlington (Brother's Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica, Some Kind of Monster), is a riveting and absolutely superb documentary that delves into the value of oil versus that of human lives. Yes, we all complain at the gas pump, but there are people for whom the cost is much higher and the stakes are much greater. Their lives, lands, and cultures are being disrupted and demolished by the intrusion of oil companies whose only concern is their bottom line.

Anyone viewing "Crude" will find themselves asking, "What penalty should be imposed for taking a culture and way of life away from people? And what price should be paid for the human death toll and suffering because of displacement caused by pollution?" The amount being requested by the people of Ecuador is $27 billion dollars to clean their homeland and pay restitution to its citizens. The question at hand is, who should pay for this? We are all too familiar with the lack of moral foresight or hindsight by large corporations when damage is done to others, and as the fingers of blame are pointed and excuses made, people continue to suffer.

Follow Pablo Fajardo, the plaintiffs' lawyer, as he sues oil giant Chevron, seeking justice for those who cannot find it for themselves, as well as the best corporate lawyers that big money can buy in the largest and most controversial legal case ever in an epic David vs Goliath battle of wills. Hear the story firsthand from the people of the Ecuadorean Amazon, also known as "The Lungs Of The World." "Crude" engages viewers in the Ecuadorean people's plight to survive in their own homes (Secoyo Village) while their children and family members perish from cancer and their animals become sick from the tainted water and environment, all of which are a result of drilling for crude oil. They have been stripped of their once simple existence and ritualistic way of life, living free and sheltered from the corporate world in a land of beauty and natural resources.

Trudie Foster and her husband Sting from the group The Police are lending efforts to bringing this and other injustices to nature to the world stage through the Rain Forest Foundation, whose mission is to preserve rain forests and the indigenous people who live in them. "Crude" is a brilliantly directed film that is beyond excellent in every aspect, and one that will touch the hearts and minds of viewers. This is a must see documentary for everyone who is concerned about the world, its people, and the environment which is quickly being ravaged. Find out why Chevron feels they are not the problem, and decide for yourself who is right. This is a gripping and fascinating view of environmental  history in the making, and the outcome will impact us all.

"Crude" is the winner of 19 international awards, and has been met with critical acclaim.

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