Life and Debt

Stephanie Black’s eye-opening documentary focuses on how the International Monetary Fund has devastated Jamaica’s agriculture and industry, but it also powerfully illustrates what globalization has been doing to underdeveloped countries around the world. An ideal companion to No Logo, Naomi Klein’s bible of the antiglobalization movement, the film shows in depressing detail how Jamaica’s independence from British rule in the early 60s only ripened it for new kinds of exploitation, to the point where today it can no longer afford to use, much less develop, its own resources (unless one counts the tourist trade, which is shown in sarcastic counterpoint to the high interest rates crippling the local economy). The narration, derived by Jamaica Kincaid from her 1988 book A Small Place and read by Belinda Becker, alternates with interviewees ranging from former prime minister Michael Manley to IMF deputy director Stanley Fischer; under it all one hears a generous sampling of Jamaican music from Belafonte to Marley to Buju Banton and Anthony B. 86 min. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, October 26 through November 1.

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