Crude

Here's a powerhouse of a documentary that makes you feel mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore. Filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost) is calling out Chevron for despoiling the Ecuadorean rainforest (via its merger with Texaco in 2001) and using every spin in the Chevron PR book to pretend otherwise. A 1993 lawsuit pitting indigenous tribes against the oil company is still tied up in the courts. Berlinger hears both sides, with native lawyer Pablo Fajardo taking on the corporate hotshots. Vanity Fair and Sting's wife, Trudie Styler, take up the cause. But the most telling arguments come from watching tribes living in a toxic wasteland with children ravaged by skin diseases and cancer. The shattering sight of sludge creating a poison rainbow on a river argues eloquently about why oil and water don't mix.

From The Archives Issue 347: July 9, 1981