Release Date: October 6th, 2006 (Cinema Village) by California Newsreel. Directed by Mark Francis and Nick Francis.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Tadesse Meskele’s quest to stop the WTO from unfairly underpricing the price of coffee exports in Ethiopia.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Black Gold presents a strong case against the unfairness of the WTO in their policies regarding the coffee industry in countries that specialize in coffee-growing. Ethiopian coffee farmers struggle to earn a living while working hard at the fields, but they don’t get enough income for their produce to support their basic survival needs. Tadesse Meskele, a representative for the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, heroically fights for the farmers’ rights to get them the income that they rightfully deserve. Not surprisingly, big companies such as Starbucks continue to exploit the low price for coffee while focusing on profit over ethics and fairness. Many Ethiopians suffer from malnourishment while crisis centers become so overwhelmed that they must turn away some who need assistance. Through fascinating and alarming footage and interviews, directors Mark and Nick Francis do a great job of coherently showing the harsh reality behind the economic and social crisis going on in Ethiopia because of greedy corporations and faulty WTO policies.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: It’s satisfying to know that Tadesse Meskele is going up against the WTO and big businesses to help the farmers who sweat every day working in the coffee fields and struggling to survive—this might sound like a “David vs. Goliath” battle, but, after all, David did win. However, just knowing that big businesses exploit these coffee farmers in such a selfish way can easily make one feel concurrently angry and sad. Especially if you’re an avid coffee drinker, this will be a pretty big wake-up call and will convince you to switch to Fair Trade coffee if you haven’t done so already.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: A fascinating and informative wake-up call. You’ll never look at a coffee bean the same again.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "B" Menu