Crude : a film by Joe Berlinger

Crude was one of the most difficult films for me to watch ever. The movie follows the class action lawsuit filed against Chevron on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadorians living in the Amazon rainforest, and it is focused on the events surrounding the case in 2006 and 2007. However, the legal struggle still continues on today because, as the film portrays, getting the Ecuadorian government and legal system to do anything, particularly against a multinational company that has dumped millions into political coffers, is a monumental task at best. Meanwhile, families are suffering through cancer, polluted waterways, contaminated soil, and mucky filth.

The film centers on American lawyer Steve Donziger, who struggles with the cultural divide between American and Ecuadorian legal procedures, and Pablo Fajardo, an Ecuadorian lawyer who won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2008 for his efforts against Chevron.

It’s not a popcorn movie, and for the sake of a clean conscience I wouldn’t suggest driving your car to the video store to pick it up—or at least I wouldn’t fill up at a Chevron station along the way. But it’s a film you should see.

(Director Joe Berlinger and Chevron’s Don Campbell on Al Jazeera International’s Riz Khan in 2009.)

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