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Forum » Additional Suggested Movies » Unit 6 » Life and Debt
Life and Debt
LunowDate: Saturday, 2011-06-25, 9:31 AM | Message # 1
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Life and Debt

Director Stephanie Black's documentary examines how policies of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other aid organizations have altered the Jamaican economy over the past 25 years, leaving the locals to struggle in poverty. Author Jamaica Kincaid narrates passages from her book on the topic, A Small Place, with Belinda Becker to a reggae soundtrack that includes songs by Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Mutubaruka and Peter Tosh. - from Netflix

If you like reggae music you definitely have to watch the documentary. If you think Jamaica is white sandy beaches, smiling people, laid-back days, and reggae music, then you should spend some time on this movie. So much of reggae comes from the socio-economic realities of life in the shantytowns of Jamaica, and to understand the music you should really understand the lives of the people who make it.

This documentary is now ten years old, and some of the information in it will be dated. However, it does an excellent job in illustrating the relationship between the wealthy countries (More Developed Countries - MDCs) and the poorer countries (Less Developed Countries - LDCs). In Unit 4 we investigate the consequences of 19th and 20th century imperialism, and this movie is a great case study highlighting the historical relationship Jamaica has to Britain. In Unit 5 we study the rise of agribusiness (huge companies that control the food industry). While we focus on the implications of agribusiness for the people in the USA, we do not examine the international aspect of the power of American and Western European food corporations. This movie does a great job in illustrating the devastating effects on an LDC because of the political power of the food industry.

Our Unit 6 deals with development and changes in the types of jobs people do around the world. The Jamaicans have allowed foreign companies to exploit their natural beauty and build hotel resorts that aim to attract tourists from the MDCs (primarily the USA and UK). This results in tourists coming to Jamaica and being presented with a warped picture of what life is really like for most Jamaicans. This raises interesting questions about the travel industry.

Parts of this documentary can "drag", but it is well worth watching because it does relate to so many different topics that we cover this year.
Forum » Additional Suggested Movies » Unit 6 » Life and Debt
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