Read a review of a film that's opening soon in the UK (8th June) that looks like an important one for justice-minded and coffee-drinking (I take that to be 80%+ of All Souls?) Christians to get a glimpse of. I'll reproduce Rich Cline's review in full below...
His website, Shadows on the Wall - and weekly email (free to sign up for) - is one of the very best for film lovers: non-glitzy, down-to-earth, informative and generally spot-on in his opinions (in my 'umble opinion!)... Rich also happens to be the editor of the Evangelical Alliance magazine, but the site is straightforwardly mainstream rather than aiming to cater for a specifically faith-defined audience.
Here's the review (emphasis mine) - you can compare is with the collection of (almost universally positive) reviews on film site rottentomatoes.com...
After oil, coffee is the world's largest trading commodity, but the people who actually grow the crops remain locked in a cycle of poverty. While Western corporations post record profits, coffee growers are being asked to sell their beans for less and less. The film centres on Ethiopia, birthplace of coffee, and the trader Tadesse Meskela, who's bypassing the system to provide fair wages for his co-operative of coffee farmers and apply profits into community projects like schools and health care. We also follow him to London and Seattle, where he markets his products to the world, stopping to glimpse the New York market where global prices are set and Italy's Illy coffee empire, which only buys coffee off the commodities exchange.
All of this is filmed in a completely unobtrusive manner that merely lets us see what's happening as savvy editing contrasts the luxuriant indifference of Starbucks café culture with the grim realities of the coffee producing communities. If we feel any guilt, it's because we recognise that we're to blame for this disparity, that the entire global marketplace is designed to keep the developing world in its place while we enjoy the proceeds.
The raw fact is that Africa, in particular, is getting poorer by the day due to colonial greed. Western aid is actually keeping these people dependent and subservient, and the irony is that as they switch to more lucrative crops, usually illicit drugs, not only will the coffee supply dry up, but our cultures will be increasingly undermined by addiction and crime. And we can't say we didn't bring this on ourselves.
The filmmakers never spell this out; they don't have to. What they do tell us is that if Western corporations allow African traders to keep just 1 percent more of the profits, they'll earn more than five times what's given in aid each year. And of course this isn't only happening in Africa. And it's not just about coffee. This is subtle, insightful cinema that demands an audience that's willing to engage their brains. And their hands.
[(c) 2007 Rich Cline - from Shadows on the Wall]
If you get to see it - add your own review here! :o)
Reminds me, by the way of a posting a while back to which I gave the title Complicated Ethics?