Money Makes the World Go Round (Let’s Make Money reviewed)

Thursday, 1 October 2009, 23:52 | Category : Film Diary, Loaves, Other European film industries
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I re-watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as well as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix relatively recently, but as I have nothing particularly new to add I’m not going to review them again ;-P Prisoner of Azkaban is still fab to me - I enjoy it a lot every time I see it. Besides, until the Half-Blood Prince DVD makes it into my collection, it’s my best option when I’m on Tom Felton phases ;) (in case somebody’s wondering - at this point in time I’m over my Tom Felton phase and presently on a Colin Firth one *grin*). Order of the Phoenix on the other hand seems worse every time I view it ;-P Mind you, I did see it soon after re-reading the 5th HP book, so maybe that’s why it seemed particularly bad… But even the acting seemed kind of blah this time round (and I always thought that was one of the 5th film’s strong points).

Let's Make Money (Austria, 2008)

Seen: Thursday, 17th September 2009 (cinema)
Runtime: 110′
Director: Erwin Wagenhofer
Production House: Allegro Film
Plot: A documentary about how the global economy works.


Impressions In Short
Fascinating material, but a bad film.

More About the Film
The problem I have with this film is that I have absolutely no idea what the director’s point was. I mean I know the director is clearly very left wing, but I think his material only partly supports his beliefs :]
Some of the problems described in the film would have indeed been solved by socialist economic policies, but the solution to the problems of African economies is clearly (according to his own material) for Western countries to further liberalize their markets (a very right wing policy). And there were some problems which would have been better solved by changing policies which don’t have much to do with how the market works. For example in the parts about India he was using an interview which criticized government policies as not being socialist enough, but the policies under fire had more to do with welfare than economy.
There was no clear line of argumentation in the film and I felt that was a very major flaw. Perhaps the reason for this was that in actuality it should not have been one film, but about five or six films. Each of the issues presented in the film was so big and interesting that it could have been a feature length film in itself.
There was the issue of tax havens like Jersey and Singapore. In particular the material from Jersey was amazing. The mayor’s speeches were like something from Monty Python and the stories about people doing those accounting jobs in Jersey and hating it were great. The problem was they weren’t elaborated on more, they were just kind of mentioned in passing.
India’s capitalism, its attraction to foreign investors and the growing divide between the middle class and the poor is something I already know a bit about and he barely scratched the surface. It’s a really broad topic.
He got some great material out of Burkina Faso as well. There were some very interesting points made - basically according to the numbers, most of Africa’s problems could probably be solved without resolving to financial aid if they were only given fair prices for their produce. But again, I wished the topic had been delved into more.
The ghost estates and even towns in Spain - houses built only to attract capital and never inhabited… it’s quite a story as well. The government ends up with huge financial losses while private investors earn lots of money.
Perhaps the one story, which wouldn’t quite stand up on its own was that of the trams in Vienna and how a stupid privatization decision means that Vienna no longer owns its trams. It has to pay a yearly fee to an American company to be able to use them. Still, privatization is a pretty big topic and I think the material would have faired better if it had been a part of a slightly different film…
Where he hit solid gold was the topic of “economic hitmen” and the World Bank. For this alone the film is worth seeing. He presents pretty strong arguments that the war in Iraq actually happened because Saddam Hussain wanted to sell oil for a currency other than US dollars. It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but the freaky thing is it sort of makes sense. Doing a mere 20min (or was it less?) on a topic like this is just silly. If someone made a good feature length film on this it would be a major worldwide hit - it’s a story that really needs to be told!

I feel the film is poor, but the content (particularly the economic hitmen bit) is what in the end makes it worth watching for me. So I’ll recommend it for that :)

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