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Documentary gets to the heart of the global poverty crisis

Documentary gets to the heart of the global poverty crisis

THE END OF POVERTY? (Philippe Diaz, 2009)
Village East Cinema
181-189 Second Ave. at 12th St.
Opens Friday, November 13

After playing film festivals around the world, Philippe Diaz’s THE END OF POVERTY? opens a one-week run at Village East, bringing its critical take on the global financial crisis. Speaking with Nobel Prize winners, economists, writers, politicians, researchers, and other experts, Diaz attempts to get at the heart of international poverty – particularly by tugging at the audience’s heartstrings. He intercuts shots of talking heads discussing slavery and colonialism, the World Bank, the free market, the International Monetary Fund, and government bailouts with portraits of men, women, and children living in squalor in Africa, Latin America, the United States, and elsewhere. He supplements the film with a barrage of statistics that, individually, are infuriating but, taken as a whole, get lost in a whirlwind of numbers. Adding to the overkill is Martin Sheen’s over-the-top narration, which piles up yet more information and outrage. But even as the film sometimes feels like a Sally Struthers save-the-children infomercial, its crucial message does manage to pull through and take root – the money is out there, but its incredibly lopsided distribution in a warped system is basically set up to keep the imbalance that has led to such a tragic situation.

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