The directors of this solid lament of the inequities of the global coffee trade do some hefty legwork, travelling from the coffee fields of southern Ethiopia to the World Barista Championships in Seattle to Illy HQ in Italy and the WTO summit in Cancun to show how far the cards are stacked against fair-trade producers in developing countries. Their conduit is Tadesse Meskela, an Ethiopian coffee producer who bucks the global market by farming and selling via co-operatives and so pays slightly more than the disastrous going rate. The Francis brothers are good on showing the situation’s local effects – famine, ill-equipped schools – but less so at analysing the international economic context: the film is frighteningly free of expert voices. More dynamism and knowledge in the telling and fewer cheap shots at young Starbucks workers in Seattle wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Friday June 8 2007
Marc Francis, Nick Francis