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Crude

Marina Aguinda, an elder of Ecuador’s Cofán tribe, opens Crude with a poignant song. “What will become of my people?” she sings. Since the ‘60s they’ve suffered the environmental consequences of oil extraction, and their class-action lawsuit against Chevron, formerly Texaco, is the subject of this powerful documentary. While lawyers argue back and forth over who is responsible for the mess, the devastating impact of the oil industry becomes visceral. We witness rashes and cancers, and we cringe as community members drink from oil-slicked waters. Ultimately, Aguinda’s question remains unanswered, and we learn the case may continue to drag on for years. But Crude delivers a guilty verdict to Chevron as it pans from company lawyers spouting blame-shifting rhetoric to the faces of the Cofán people demanding justice.

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