Gold Fever Documentary

Gold Fever is an independent 80-minute documentary about the global impact of the modern gold-mining industry. It tracks one company, called Gold Corp, and its destruction of Guatemala via its quest for domination of the industry. The movie particularly emphasizes the lives of a few heroic women and men who fight to save their communities from the gold mines, risking their lives and those of their families.

The movie contrasts Gold Corp propaganda with the lives of suffering Guatemalans. Footage of a Guatemalan village is interspersed with eminent professors, who highlight key problems with the gold industry. Points visited include the illogical craving for gold, destruction of the environment, Gold Corp’s destruction of local culture and government, and turning people against each other in the name of money and greed. One professor makes a particularly illuminating observation: buying gold to ensure money in the future is simultaneously destroying the future one wishes to prosper in. Gold mining is portrayed as heavily ironic and wasteful.
One problem with the movie is that it is fairly one-sided. Gold Fever returns again and again to the environmental and socio-economic impacts of gold-mining. Gold mining poisons what little water it does not use, puts workers’ lives in danger, leads to erosion, and obliterates ecosystems. Support for and against Gold Corp divides Guatemala, turning neighbor against neighbor and corrupting the government from the inside. All that is said about Gold Corp motivations is that the executives are greedy profit-makers who risk literally the whole Earth for a bit of dough. Granted, it is not the moviemakers’ fault that basically everyone pro-gold mining declined to comment. However, it would have been nice to have a few words about Gold Corp that do not sound overly scathing.

Costs more than just money.
Another issue with Gold Fever is the lack of organization. The rehashing of Gold Corp’s faults is done in a way that is haphazard and often redundant. I don’t have a problem with nonlinear progression – just with movies that keep bouncing around the same ideas with little new material to cover in between. The film could easily have been cut to an hour without missing any key points. In particular, the environmental consequences of gold mining were spread out and harped on several times, instead of being concentrated in just a couple different places.
However, overall Gold Fever does what it set out to do: educate the public about an unseen horror. If the documentary becomes available to anyone other than a few independent cinemas, I would definitely persuade any History teacher to show it. Despite its lack of cohesiveness and relatively one-sided portrayal of the issue, Gold Fever is overall a worthwhile choice for those willing to explore the ugliness of a far-reaching industry.

For more information about the movie, please visit and thank you.


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