Black Gold review

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Wake up and smell the coffee: caffeine may be Black Gold but the only people getting rich off it are whites, according to this shock doc about the First World’s addiction to java. Moving from the dusty plantations of Ethiopia to Seattle, home of Starbucks, it offers us a chilling glimpse of market forces as poverty-stricken Third World farmers are ground down by the WTO, EU subsidies and ‘greed is good’ capitalism. As a piece of cinema, the film’s listless style makes for decaffeinated viewing (plus it’s terribly patronising in its decision to subtitle Ethiopians speaking perfectly good English). Just as well, then, that its exposé of coffee companies’ rapacious tactics jolts more than a triple espresso. Intimate interviews with starving farmers selling beans for 24p a kilo while we pay £2 a cup will make you appreciate the importance of fair-trade when ordering your next double-shot, skinny latte.

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