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The Price of Sugar

Prisoners in cane fields
By PEG ALOI  |  November 7, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars

THE PRICE OF SUGAR: Unsettling truth in the Domican Republic's cane fields.

Nutrition gurus like Michael Pollan may extol the evils of high-fructose corn syrup, but this documentary by Bill Haney shows the horrific truths behind our favorite sweeetener. Focusing on Father Christopher Hartley, a firebrand missionary born into wealth and privilege, Haney documents the crippling poverty and degradation suffered by Haitian immigrants brought into the Dominican Republic’s cane fields (most of them owned by the billionaire Vicini family). Stripped of their documentation, the workers are virtual prisoners, supervised by armed guards and paid a pittance. Intestinal parasites, tuberculosis, and AIDS add to the ravages of malnutrition. Father Christopher’s stubborn refusal to be cowed by threats (from the Vicini family’s cronies hired to stage protests in the streets) puts him in danger, but he’s galvanized the Haitians toward solidarity. Such an inspiring figure might invoke martyrdom, but Haney’s treatment is unsentimental, allowing the harrowing truth to speak for itself. 90 minutes | Kendall Square 
Related: Michael and me, Reel lives, Pick what you eat, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Bill Haney, Michael Pollan
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