VIFF Film Reviews: Big Men; Village at the End of the World


Big Men (99 minutes, USA, Director — Rachel Boynton). Boynton’s documentary follows the financial and political action that ensues when a large submarine reservoir of oil is discovered just off the coast of Ghana. Since the impoverished African country lacks the resources, the task of developing the asset falls to wealthy American companies. As expected the dramatic conflict of the film is between the moneyed developers and the Ghanian government. Boynton’s treatment appears to be even-handed, but watch carefully what happens to George, the Ghanian who teams up with the US companies and who is eventually sidelined. Keep watching. And ask yourself, what is a reasonable profit?

Village at the End of the World (76 minutes, UK/Denmark/Greenland, Directors — Sarah Gavron and David Katznelson). So you think subsistence farming and hunting is restricted to the Southern Hemisphere. Here we visit the remote northern Greenland village of Niaqornat whose 59 Inuit residents fall on hard times when the company that owns their tiny fish-processing plant closes things down leaving their prospects as dark as an Arctic winter. But these are hardy folk: they do not give up. And we are treated to several highlights of their life, including a visit by a cruise ship. Our Inuit heroes trot out trinkets and handicrafts to sell to the visitors. The problem is, the only resident who speaks Danish or English is the guy who runs on the hands-on sewage system for the village.

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About aharmlessdrudge

Way back during the late Bronze age -- actually it was the 1950s -- all of us in high school had to take a vocational test to determine our interests and, supposedly, our future careers. I cannot remember the outcome, but I do recall one question that gave me pause. "If you were to win a Nobel prize, would it be in literature or in physics?" I hesitated over the question: although I enjoyed mathematics and science more than English class, I did have a couple of unfinished (and very bad) novels hidden away at home. I cannot remember what I chose back then, but the dilemma followed me to university, where I switched from mathematics to English and -- after a five-year stint in journalism -- back to mathematics. I recently retired as a professor of statistics. Retirement. What a good chance to revive my literary ambitions. I have finished a novel -- more about that in good time -- and a rubble of drafts of articles about mathematics and statistics is taking up space on my hard disk.
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One Response to VIFF Film Reviews: Big Men; Village at the End of the World

  1. Pingback: Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 | aharmlessdrudge

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