Sunday, 15 March 2009
Dir: Marc and Nick Francis
Starring: The coffee farmers of Ethiopia, a Starbuck's store manager, Tadesse Meskela
Narry Borman is angry. Being a life-long coffee drinker, he has always been intersted in the plight of coffee farmers (some say he introduced the first coffee beans into Europe, which indirectly led to the French revolution). Plus, Africa is his homeland, so he feels some kinship with the exploited people of Ethiopia who are the subject of this documentary. Black Gold has four elements:
1. The stupid commercialisation of coffee
2. The ridiculous paradox of Aid and Trade in Africa
3. Ethiopian coffee is the best in the world - Mocha, Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, Harar etc.
4. Ethiopia is a beautiful country
This is perhaps the most tasteful documentary ever made. No shock tactics (although lord knows they could have shown some powerful images from the malnutrition camps in Ethiopia), no 'emotional' questions, no anti-politcal demonstrations. Just the facts, and the blindingly obvious conclusion that either something needs to change or Africa will implode. Excellent soundtrack, and some wonderful shots of Ethiopian farmland. Respect to Tadesse Meskala.