(2001 TV Movie)


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  • A fascinating look at the high-speed, high-power trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Director Jon Else explores this hectic, noisy, seemingly chaotic workplace with his signature style -- eschewing narration in favor of long, real-time shots that bring the viewer right into the heart-stopping action of the trading floor. He reveals the traders' sudden wealth, sudden disaster, and grace under pressure as they exchange billions of dollars in futures and options contracts - for cattle, Eurodollars and the S&P 500 futures. Also revealed is the endangerment of the open outcry trading system as the digital revolution replaces it at many of the world's financial exchanges. The film exposes nervous young clerks as they learn the open outcry system, its seemingly senseless language and hand signals. Traders ruminate on social values, market volatility and greed. One trader reminds us that commodities trading is not a pursuit for cold-hearted capitalists but, as we see in the film, for people with a gambler's heart and a gambler's nerves of steel: "Remember, when people hear about all the money commodity traders make, for every one guy that's made a fortune, I guarantee you that there are five guys that are driving cabs." Else's film captures the exhilarating, heart-stopping volatility that makes the Merc one of the most fascinating spots on the global financial map.


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