Raoul Peck's 52-minute film about the effects of market economy and globalization on his homeland, Haiti, is more a film essay than a traditional documentary. Instead of facts and figures, Peck offers the learned commentary of various economists, including Rene Passet, Serge Latouche and Haiti's agricultural minister, Gérald Mathurin, as well as his own personal reflections on the way in which so-called free market capitalism has rendered Haiti a country that "theoretically doesn't exist." Capitalism, they feel, is a system that serves only the richest citizens of the richest nations, and they note a deep contradiction between its self-proclaimed triumph and the reality of day-to-day life in countries like Haiti countries whose markets have been drastically deregulated to encourage exports of their most valuable resources, while importing the worst of what the rest of the world has to offer. The system has succeeded in turning money into capital: Rather than a means of expediting the exchange of goods in an attempt to meet the basic needs of the people, money has become the goal of transactions. It accumulates in the bottomless coffers of a handful of paranoid super-capitalists interested only in increasing their fortunes, regardless of the effects. Men like Bill Gates, whose personal worth equals Haiti's cumulative GNP for the next 30 years. This "crazy machine" an opaque, feudal system whose true nature remains invisible is now out of control, Latouche argues, but our society facilitates blindness to its dysfunctions by encouraging irresponsibility and a forgetfulness that Peck likens to a form of societal Alzheimer's disease. And in the face of this illusory triumph, which smothers dissent and renders discussion pointless, Peck ultimately questions the futility of creating images. Are they to exist only as mementos to lost battles? Impassioned and deeply troubling, Peck's film is not entirely without hope, and would make a powerful double bill with LIFE AND DEBT, Stephanie Black's 2001 film about globalization's disastrous impact on Jamaica's economy.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: NR
- Review: Raoul Peck's 52-minute film about the effects of market economy and globalization on his homeland, Haiti, is more a film essay than a traditional documentary. Instead of facts and figures, Peck offers the learned commentary of various economists, including… (more)