Life & Debt

Life and Debt is one of the most essential documentaries of our time. Perfectly penned by kincaid, Stephanie Black has turned her words into a visual and important piece of film. Life and Debt deals with the problems of the IMF and the World Bank and the way they have used money in the form of loans to exploit  the nation of Jamaica. A documentary that addresses the issues of disparity, western domination, tourism as neo-colonialism, exploitation and post colonial leftovers. It is a documentary that will make your blood boil when you realize that there is such unfairness in the world whilst also making you laugh at the absurdity of it all. But it will probably make you cry when you realize that you are also a part of this system. Life and debt is by far one of my favourite documentaries and an essential informant into the unfair institutions of the IMF and world bank as well as the inequality between ‘developed countries’ and ‘developing nations’.

“Utilizing excerpts from the award-winning non-fiction text “A Small Place” by Jamaica Kincaid, Life & Debt is a woven tapestry of sequences focusing on the stories of individual Jamaicans whose strategies for survival and parameters of day-to-day existence are determined by the U.S. and other foreign economic agendas. By combining traditional documentary telling with a stylized narrative framework, the complexity of international lending, structural adjustment policies and free trade will be understood in the context of the day-to-day realities of the people whose lives they impact. he film opens with the arrival of vacationers to the island– utilizing Ms. Kincaids text as voice-over, we begin to understand the profound contrasts behind the breathtaking natural beauty of the island. The poetic urgency of Ms. Kincaids text lends a first-person understanding of the legacy of the country’s colonial past, and to it’s present day economic challenges. For example, as we see a montage of the vacationer in her hotel, voice-over: “When you sit down to eat your delicious meal, it’s better that you don’t know that most of what you are eating came off a ship from Miami. There is a world of something in this, but I can’t go into it right now.”

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