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The Charcoal People (2000)

Os Carvoeiros (original title)
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Documentary about the rural population who earn their living as coal miners, thus helping to keep metallurgic activity going and contributing to the forest devastation in South America.

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Plot kept under wraps.

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Documentary about the rural population who earn their living as coal miners, thus helping to keep metallurgic activity going and contributing to the forest devastation in South America.

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forest | tree | steel | rain forest | kiln | See All (14) »

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26 January 2000 (USA)  »

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The Charcoal People  »

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Revealing and moving documentary
23 April 2001 | by (Columbia, South Carolina, USA) – See all my reviews

The most amazing thing about this documentary is that it was made at all, i.e., that the companies that produce charcoal used to make pig iron for (primarily automobile) manufacturers in the US, Europe, and Japan allowed the filmmakers access to the laborers who work for them at all, since they surely would have realized that a documentary about deforestation surely would not have been sympathetic. That having been said, this documentary makes it clear that deforestation is a problem to which there is no easy solution. As devastating as deforestation is, it provides a living to those who perform the work, and, as one worker after another states, this is the only work they can get. (A problem, by the way, that I am sure is not limited to Brazil.) The interviews are especially poignant. We see a lithe 76 year old man working as hard as his younger counterparts. We learn of the exploitation of these workers by some employers. We see a 16 year old wife of one of the workers who looks as if she is 30, with 2 children and another on the way. It also becomes abundantly clear that if deforestation is stopped, something for which the film makes a plea, then the Brazilian government will have to find an alternative for these people. This should not be missed.


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