Informative and entertaining: Life and Debt

by janinemalahoff

“Life and Debt” is a documentary film by Stephanie Black about the distressed financial system in Jamaica, inspired by the book “A Small Place” by Jamaica Kincaid. While discussing the important but often overlooked topic of the negative effects globalization has had on Jamaica, this documentary uses many techniques to not only inform the viewers but also keep them interested and entertained. The transition between the information given by the narrator and the interviews, and the passages from “A Small Place” bring a logical and then also local perspective. The interviews and other footage are a mixture between local Jamaicans, Jamaican politicians and also North Americans such as Bill Clinton in one clip. The mixtures of points of views and opinions all work together to bring us more information and the different opinions on this subject. Between interviews and talking there is beautifully filmed footage of the locals accompanied by well known Jamaican music such as Bob Marley. This effect was one I appreciated giving us a break from the information and letting the viewers see some of Jamaica. The last aspect that really stuck out was how the film stressed the different between a tourist visit to Jamaica and everyday life there. The view of the tourists and then this view being corrected by the local author was made clear in this documentary because being the targeted audience, essentially tourists and outsiders of Jamaica probably focused on North America, the documentary makers want to influence our biased and naive position when watching this film and bring us the truth. Between the music, camera use, interviews and incorporation of the book this documentary gets the point across efficiently and creatively.

Word Count: 280


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