Life and Debt
Utilizing excerpts from the award-winning non-fiction text A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid, Life and Debt is a woven tapestry of sequences all 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.
The 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. (adapted excerpt A Small Place) (Excerpt from lifeanddebt.org)
I saw this movie about a year ago, let me tell you I was floored, awed,inspired, humbled and most importantly academically informed. This documentary literally changed my life and my perspectives on the disparate treatment that even people as well versed and educated as my Jamaican brothers and sisters are, recieve despite their literal and social contributions to society. Since I saw the film, I have continued to compare my existence here in the states, especially in New Orleans, LA ESPECIALLY, following the devastation of the hurricanes ( katrina, rita...) to that of Jamaica's inhabitants. The one thing that I can truly say is that the IMF, must operate in small pockets around the world, because New Orleans, treats its people very much in the same way that the IMF treats Jamaicans.
You decide to venture from the sanctuary of your tropical compound. You see natives. You marvel at the things they can do with their hair. The things they fashion out of cheap twine or ordinary cloth. Squatting on the side of the road. Hanging out with all the time in the world. You might look at them and think their so relaxed, so laid back, their never in a hurry.
Every native of every place is a potential tourist and every tourist is a native of somewhere. Every native would like to find a way out. Every native would like a rest. Every native would like a tour but some natives, most natives in the world, can not go anywhere. Their to poor to escape the realities of their lives and their to poor to live properly in the place where they live. Which is the very place you the tourist want to go. So when the natives see you, the tourist, they envy you. They envy your own ability to leave your own banality and boredom. They envy your ability to turn their own banality and boredom, into a source of pleasure for yourself.
Wow! I really enjoyed that statement, wish I had created it.