Films on Globalization

Commanding Heights:
The Battle for the World Economy

Documentary 2002 NR 360 minutes. Based on the best-selling book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, this three-part PBS documentary series is the story of how the new global economy was born. It traces the rise of free markets during the last century, as well as the process of globalization. There are three segments – 1. “The Battle of Ideas” (primarily between Capitalism and Communism);  2. “The Agony of Reform” (after the end of Communism)  3. “The New Rules of the Game” (of Globalization). See Full Review

The Shock Doctrine

Documentary 2009 NR 82 minutes. Taking shock therapy as a metaphor, this investigative documentary explores “disaster capitalism,” in which unstable nations are first jolted by catastrophic events, then subjected to free-market remedies imposed by first-world heavyweights.

Battle in Seattle

Docudrama 2007 R 98 minutes. With the World Trade Organization about to convene in his city, Seattle’s Mayor Jim Tobin (Ray Liotta) tries to make sure all events go smoothly. As tensions between protestors and authorities rise out of control, activists and bystanders get caught in the crossfire. Stuart Townsend weaves a compelling story using the 3 Ps – Police, Protestors and Politicians. Based on the 1999 protest referred to as the “Battle of Seattle,” this drama features Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, André Benjamin, Connie Nielsen and Michelle Rodriguez. The stars play characters that are an amalgamation of a number of real people. The mayor of the city is trying to keep things calm, but finds his reasonable and non-violent approach to be ineffectual under the circumstances. With pressure from the governor of Washington State and from the White House, he is subjected to mounting stress to get the matter under control. The one thing that was shown properly was that the Seattle police, in the beginning, was ordered not make any arrests. That changed only when property damage and looting got out of control. If you believe that “peaceful” demonstrations in the streets are the way to get things changed in governments around the world, you will love this one because it’s pretty well done and includes actual footage of the real life melee. I wonder if the people deriding this movie as “liberal propaganda” understand that most of the riot footage was real and not recreated. Everything in this movie seems consistent with the news reports we were receiving and my own observations, and everything was pretty truthful to the photos we have in our album. As one of the protesters said toward the end: “A week ago nobody knew what the WTO was. Hell, they still don’t know what the WTO is — but at least they know it’s bad.”  As to the WTO, all that rioting did nothing to change its course. From an historical perspective, I had no idea these things happened. This is a film to make one think. It is a serious film with a serious message. I was glued from beginning to end and highly recommend it.

Neocolonialism (also Neo-colonialism or Neo-imperialism) is using capitalism, business globalization, and cultural imperialism to influence a country, instead of either direct military control or indirect political control.

FILMS ON GLOBALIZATION FROM EXPLOITER-POINT-OF-VIEW

Let’s Make Money

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 47m Let’s Make Money is not about how to make money. This film traces money as it goes through the global finance system — exposing policies and practices affecting the worldwide economy. This film is about the billions, trillions of dollars that go to selfish human greed and not to basic human need. This shows the planetary marketplace from all perspectives: wealthy investors, business owners, bankers, laborers, activists, government officials, impoverished people — from all around the globe. See Full Review

Capitalism
A Love Story

Documentary 2009 R 127 minutes. Filmmaker Michael Moore (Sicko, Fahrenheit 9/11) takes on capitalism’s roots, the floundering U.S. economy, and 2008’s global financial meltdown and subsequent bank bailout in this rousing documentary. Combining stories about those who suffer most from Corporate America’s greed and insatiable thirst for profits and the people most responsible for myriad crises, Moore embarks on another shocking fact-finding rampage.

John Perkins: Speaking Freely Vol. 1

Lecture 2007 NR. Author and former economic consultant John Perkins takes aim at himself, confessing his shameful role in helping organizations such as World Bank and the IMF drive poor nations into crippling debt while enriching U.S. corporations. His social conscience awakened, Perkins finally got fed up and quit his job. Now, he runs a successful nonprofit group that works to help indigenous peoples protect and strengthen their environments and cultures. See Full Review

Apology of an Economic Hit Man

Documentary 2008 NR. Stelios Koul records the confessions of author John Perkins in this documentary. Perkins alleges he was part of a clandestine team of economic “hit men” who worked to exploit poor countries in the 1970s on behalf of the United States government. His claims are backed by authentic propaganda films as well as dramatized reenactments of top-secret events he says took place behind a thick veil of secrecy.

Susan George: Speaking Freely: Vol. 2

Lecture 2007 NR 52 minutes. Join award-winning scholar Susan George for an enlightening hour as she reveals the forces at work behind the problems that plague our global community today, such as poverty and unfair international trade practices. Far from a dry lecture, her talk traces the intriguing history behind the politics of empire building with a freedom, depth and élan you won’t find on the 6 o’clock news. Beware: This presentation is dangerous to complacency!

Invisible Empire
A New World Order Defined

Documentary 2009 NR 134 minutes. From provocateur Jason Bermas comes this mesmerizing documentary that exposes what global leaders really mean when they talk about a “new world order”: a tyrannical world government that enslaves humanity to consolidate its power. Using damning footage of former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and other wealthy elites, Bermas chronicles how they’ve used bank schemes, false flag terrorism and other nefarious means to usher in their plans.

Chalmers Johnson: Speaking Freely: Vol. 4

Lecture 2007 NR 52 minutes. Writer and professor Chalmers Johnson warns of the dangers of American imperialism, a trend evidenced in the presence of U.S. military bases abroad, the passage of the Patriot Act and the executive branch’s use of military force.

Black Money

Documentary Frontline 2009 NR 60 minutes. Slush funds, front companies and secret payments are just a few of the illegal tactics multinational companies are using to fatten their wallets — and increasingly, investigators are on to them, as this special edition of “Frontline” illustrates. Investigative journalist Lowell Bergman shows how the U.S. Justice Department is working with allies around the world to crack down on the billion-dollar business that international bribery has become.

The Business of Bribes
An Investigation into International Bribery

Documentary Frontline/World 2009. Frontline and Frontline/World unfolds an online investigation of international bribery. Covering a practice estimated at $1 trillion worldwide, the ongoing investigation is also part of a Frontline documentary, Black Money, which aired April 7th, 2009.

Moneylenders

Documentary Frontline 1983. Developing countries have borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars from Western banks. Some of the biggest borrowers, Brazil and Mexico,are struggling even to repay the interest. Correspondent Anthony Sampson finds that threats to repudiate the loans are causing American bankers to fear financial catastrophe.

FILMS ON GLOBALIZATION FROM WORKER-POINT-OF-VIEW

The End of Poverty?

Documentary 2008 NR 104 minutes. Exploring the history of poverty in developing countries, filmmaker Philippe Diaz contends that today’s economic inequities arose as a result of colonization, military conquest and slavery, with wealthier countries seizing the resources of the poor. Narrated by Martin Sheen, this absorbing documentary includes interviews with numerous historians, economists and sociologists who shed light on the ongoing conditions that contribute to poverty. See Full Review

Life and Debt

Documentary 2001 NR 86 minutes. 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.

The Middle of the World
(O Caminho das Nuvens)

Docudrama 2004 NR 1hr 25m. It’s a known fact that desperate people will be driven to take desperate measures. And when we say driven, we mean it — literally. This movie is based on the incredible true story of a man who takes his wife and five children on a 2,000-mile bicycle trip across Brazil in search of a decent job. Stars Cláudia Abreu and Manoel Sebastião Alves Filho.

Brazil: Cutting the Wire
Witnessing a Land Occupation

Documentary Frontline / World 2005. Nearly half of Brazil’s farmland is owned by 1 percent of the population — a glaring inequality in a nation known for its stark division between rich and poor. This week on Rough Cut, we travel to a dusty patch of rural Brazil where Frontline/World Fellows Adam Raney and Chad Heeter witness a land occupation by a thousand poor people and activists who take over a strategic corner of a ranch about an eight-hour drive west of Sao Paulo.

The Middle of the World
(O Caminho das Nuvens)

Docudrama 2004 NR 1hr 25m. It’s a known fact that desperate people will be driven to take desperate measures. And when we say driven, we mean it — literally. This movie is based on the incredible true story of a man who takes his wife and five children on a 2,000-mile bicycle trip across Brazil in search of a decent job. Stars Cláudia Abreu and Manoel Sebastião Alves Filho.

Brazil: Guns for Hire
Fighting for a Share of the Land

Documentary Frontline / World 2009. Reporter Siri Schubert travels to Brazil to investigate how a clash between the giant Swiss agribusiness Syngenta and Brazil’s landless movement left two men dead and exposed a long and violent battle for land reform in South America’s richest country.

The Devil’s Miner

Documentary 2005 NR 1hr 22m. Filmmakers Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani pan their cameras beneath the surface of Bolivia’s Cerro Rico silver mines, a place so dark, depressing and frightening that locals believe it’s the devil’s home. Chronicling the daily ordeal of 14-year-old breadwinner Basilio Vargas — who chews coca leaves on his way to work to numb his persistent, primordial terror — this somber documentary captures the hellish realities of fear.

Internationally Speaking

Documentary 2005 NR 90 minutes. In this documentary, voices from around the world address America and its foreign policy, sharing their opinion of the world’s only “superpower,” its government, its foreign policy and its people. In the midst of growing international anti-Americanism, real people tell Americans what they think and why in an attempt to further understanding and compassion. Features Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky and Michael Ratner. Christine Rose directs.

Power Trip

Documentary 2003 NR 86 minutes. Filmmaker Paul Devlin objectively documents the multifaceted story of a country trying to rebuild itself amid a changing political landscape. Accustomed to getting their electricity for free, the residents of Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, are suddenly faced with shelling out money for power. Can the American energy company now running things persuade the disgruntled populace that it’s the right thing to do?

Bolivia: Leasing the Rain

Documentary Frontline World 2002. In Bolivia, a private consortium, dominated by the Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, had taken over Cochabamba’s water system in 2000 and raised water rates. Protestors blamed Bechtel for trying to “lease the rain.” A popular protest there turned into a deadly riot. The army battled civilians in the streets on and off for three months, hundreds were arrested, a seventeen year-old boy was shot and killed, the government of Bolivia nearly collapsed. The water warriors who ousted Bechtel took control of the water system, vowing to run it as a human right, not as a commodity. See also Even the Rain.

Even the Rain
(También la Lluvia)

Drama 2010 NR 1hr42m. While making a film about the incursion of Christopher Columbus into the New World, a director finds the Bolivian locals protesting modern exploitation, as the filming occurs simultaneously with the Bolivian water war in the year 2000. Very interesting premise of a film crew making an ‘anti-imperialist’ historical film in Bolivia and encountering fierce local struggles against exploitation and oppression.  It’s nice to see an entertaining drama and thought-provoking treatment of issues you typically see only in a documentary. An important film for our time. See also Leasing the Rain.

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