Tessa Maria Guazon
Pureza, The Story of Negros Sugar (Bonfire Productions)
Directed by Jay Abello
A well-researched documentary on the history of the sugar industry in Negros Province, with interviews that span three years and which included landowners, SRA (Sugar Regulatory Administration) officials, millers, planters, farm workers and their relatives. Staid narration and chronology burden the documentary flow.
The film predicts a bleak future for sugar production and trade due to lower tariff rates imposed by AFTA regulations beginning 2015. Despite many interesting studies of the relations between sugar production and the building of empire, it fails to foreground the complex position sugar now occupies in global and neoliberal trade. It may have profited from an examination of the ecological ramifications of singular crops on large swaths of land. The film surprisingly ends on a benign, nearly disappointing tone. It begs for a more driven conclusion instead of flagging uncertainty. C