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"The End of Poverty" - {Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Cinema Libre
Genre:
Documentary
Release Date:
April 27, 2010
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

Disclosure: While I don't agree with everything in "The End of Poverty", I happen to agree with a lot of it. If you are reading this review keep in mind that I do have a bias in favor of many of the points of this film. ***

Poverty. It's existence has dogged humanity from the very beginning of civilization. It's the extreme end of the "have-not's" and the rich honestly don't care. In a world like ours where people can amass so much money that they can never spent in a million lifetimes. This is obscene but not as obscene as watching people due to nothing more than the fact that they were born in the wrong country at the wrong time to the wrong family starve or have to drink water filled with parasites. I'm not expecting the world to change over night but I'm also expecting people from the wealthy using the tired out excuse that they are somehow superior to those who, due to circumstance, don't have anything. We see this obscenity reflected in the people like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. *** Narrated by Martin Sheen "The End of Poverty" argues that the causes of poverty stem to colonalism and continue to be perpetuated by exploitation of the poor by forcing them from their lands, unfair taxation, unfair trade and debt repayment. Featuring interviews with Nobel prize winners Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz and authors Susan George (“Another World Is Possible If”), Eric Toussaint (“The World Bank: A Never Ending Coup d’Etat) as well as political leaders in countries slammed by poverty in the Third World, the directors of the film make a strong case for the wealthy status of North America, Europe and other "First World" countries as an example of human greed and exploitation of other humans. Director Philippe Diaz points out something that many of us already know; there's no way that 20% of the world's population can continue to greedily consume 80% of the world's resources indifferent to the suffering of those all around us even in our own country. ***

Whether or not you believe all this is going to depend on your political/economic bend; "The End of Poverty" won't converted the uncoverted but will just make those who are converted angry at the injustice and unnecessary accumulation of resources and wealth at the expense of others resulting in human suffering. "Poverty" wears its political bias proudly on its sleeve--if you don't believe any of the above, then I'd suggest steering clear of this movie because, well, you'll completely disagree with the point-of-view of the makers of the movie. ---

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray looks quite nice and considering the variety of film sources and formats used to make this. Detail can vary with the image suffering from a soft, grainy presentation to one that is relatively smooth looking. ***

Audio sounds quite good but this is primarily a dialogue driven film and, as a result, not a good example for a 5.1 or lossless presentation.

Special Features:

"Speaking Freely" features John Perkins discussing the negative impact of globalization and how resources and ppower are becoming even more centralized. There's also an extended interview with the director discussing the making of the film. "10 Steps to End Poverty Petition" is a featurette focusing on how the world can prevent disaster. "Changes in Venezuela" demonstrates how some of Hugo Chavez's reforms have impacted the working poor in that country. There are also extended intervies with a variety of authors including Heather Remoff (author of Colonialism and Monoculture in Africa) Mason Gaffney (How U.S. Companies Gain Control of Land). Finally we get a profile of the Stawi Youth & Adult Center in Kenya and the good it is doing in that country.

Final Words:

As we see the increasing disintegration of the middle class in America, there appears to be very valid observations in "The End of Poverty". While the U.S. as a whole has continued to consume (along with other countries) 80% of the world's resources we're also seeing within our own country 20% of OUR population consuming 80% of the resources in terms of money, land and other valuables. We aren't totally immune to what is occurring in the rest of the world--we're seeing expressions in our society now as the middle class begins to be whittled away.

 

 
 
 
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