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Life & Debt "Jamaica and the I.M.F."
Life and Debt is a just-completed feature-length documentary which addresses the impact of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and current globalization policies on a developing country such as Jamaica.
This methodically rabble-rousing film can be read two ways: face-on as a laser-sighted exposé of Jamaica's economic strangulation by an IMF hell-bent on fomenting chaos and dependency in the name of slave-wage sweatshops and the almighty Mickey Dee's, or, from a slightly more askew angle, as the grimmest Black science-fiction movie of all time. A tale of one very small Black planet's near hopeless struggle against a technologically superior alien adversary more malevolent than anybody's Borg.
We learn of Jamaican farmers, food producers, and policy makers coerced by the IMF to dismantle their own prodigious food industries so that subsidized foreign competitors can crush them in the local market.
We're reminded of the Clinton-led suit against Jamaica's banana industry on behalf of Chiquita and Dole, which ensured that those brand names now controlling 95 percent of the world's banana trade can scarf up JA's minuscule portion too.
We hear of offshore poultry wholesalers who demand the return of their impounded caches of 20-year-old chicken, blithely claiming their poison meat was really intended for Haiti.
The film also gives an inhuman face to the IMF in the form of the devil incarnate, deputy director Stanley Fischer, who plays the smug villain with mustache-twirling relish.
The director confesses that "the film is supposed to make you mad," and hopes that editing it in her bedroom aided in transferring her sense of mission to the viewer.
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