Crude (12A)

Directed by Joe Berlinger
Screened at FACT (26th January 2010)

Reviewed by Nadia Baha

At the beginning of the film, a spokesperson for the World Development Movement talked a little about their work and put information on every seat.

A few people in the Amazon jungle in Equador fight against a gigantic oil company. Sounds like a modern-day biblical story of David against Goliath? In a way it is. The infamous story of Texcon (merged with Chevron in 2001) polluting and causing damage to the environment and the people living there, versus a handful of people who try and fight the lawsuit through – that is what this film is about. But it is so much more. It is about indigenous cultures that are slowly dying out, about how a few people can change a lot. It is about how afraid even the biggest companies are of negative press (see McDonalds in the McLibel film) and how unafraid individuals can be when they are determined to face the almost impossible task like bringing a company like Chevron before court.

In this gripping real-life drama/documentary, Joe Berlinger and his team provide in depth information about the case and let both sides have their say although obviously they make it very clear whose side they are. The film keeps a breathless flow of events that happened – from Equador to New York, from winning an award in the USA, it goes back to a small flat where one of the main lawyers live in Equador. You see the difference between the rich and the poor, the catastrophic impact that oil pollution had on people’s health, and the arrogance and ignorance of Chevron claiming it is all fabrication, and that the people only want to fill their own pockets with damages payments.

The 'Amazon Cheronbyl' case as it is also called gets more momentum and worldwide attention after they get a story in Vanity Fair and Trudie Styler (Sting’s wife) gets involved and adds a bit of glamour to the whole story.

The film is shown in Spanish with English subtitles or - when someone speaks a traditional 'Native' language - there is an interpreter there, who interprets it into Spanish and English.

A must see film for everyone environmentally conscious and everyone else! and

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