Image via YouTube video
The first ever San Francisco Green Film Festival launched this weekend and with an impressive line-up of environmental documentaries, not the least of which was a powerful film called Sweet Crude. It is the story of the oil industry's presence on Nigeria's Niger Delta, but more importantly, the movement against the oil companies that have shaped the lives of citizens.
The film follows members of the newest wave of activists, who have become the young men of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
"In a small corner of the most populous country in Africa, billions of dollars of crude oil flow under the feet of a desperate people. Immense wealth and abject poverty stand in stark contrast. The environment is decimated. The issues are complex, the answers elusive," states the documentary's website.
The award-winning film does a brilliant job of bringing these issues and, to some extent, answers to light.
Variety reviewed the film, noting, "A movie about crime and shame, "Sweet Crude" is also a classic example of urgent, righteous-indignation agitprop cinema that succeeds in being not just angry, but art... Despite the utter destruction of their environment and the fact that mothers now have to describe to their children the animals that once ran free around their homes, a sense of despondency and/or resignation is absent from what Cioffi presents. There are plenty of reasons for dread; the speed with which the air quality rots the zinc roofs of the houses makes one shudder to think what it's doing to the inhabitants. But the mood is generally upbeat and optimistic, despite anyone's prognosis."
The next scheduled screening of the film is at Towsen University, Towsen, MD at the end of the month. If you have a chance to see it here or elsewhere, definitely do. It's an amazing film.
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