Sunday, June 08, 2008

Better Know a Movie: Darfur Now

It's been awhile since I posted a documentary review - mostly because of Undude's antagonism toward review of documentaries. But, this film compelled me to re-post a review. This is a very powerful documentary about 6 individuals (including a rebel fighter, a celebrity, an activist, an aid worker, an ICC prosecutor, and refugee camp organizer) living and, for some, seeking to correct one of the biggest human tragedies of our time.
The stories revolve around 2 central plot-lines: the ICC's prosecution of individuals responsible for the genocide; and the efforts to get California to divest from Sudan. The film features cameos from Hillary Clinton, John McCain, the Governator, and George Clooney, but the power doesn't come from celebrity power, it comes from the struggles of ordinary men and women touched by tragedy. It's not something one can take their eyes away from this film.
One downside of watching this documentary, it will probably lead you to ask the question: what the heck am I doing with my life? And for me, I didn't like the answer.


Head Dude said...

It's good to have the Dude's signature series back.
Earlier this weekend, I was scanning through the list of on-demand movies and almost watched this one before the baby intervened, but I hope to next weekend.
I share in the dude's final sentiment. On one of my trips home from Israel last year, I was sitting next to a middle-aged man who had just finished attending a conference in Jordan focused on poverty in Africa. He works for some organization focused on developing the African economy, and I was amazed at what he does. There aren't a lot of those jobs out there, but the impact is much more direct. One of the frustrations with law is it's a slow-moving process that achieves maximum impact only after years of digging through minutae. Very necessary of course, but in D.C. I worked with a guy whose wife worked for US AID and spent half her time in Africa, including Darfur, helping with the rebuilding process.
I vote that the dude takes sabbatical and joins PeaceCorp for a year.

Big Daddy said...

It's funny just the other day I had been hoping for a "Better Know a Book" post as I am currently reading The Great Derangement by Matt Taibbi. I almost never read non-fiction and when I do I almost never read anything political... but I'll save that for the appropriate forum.

I too almost picked this's still buried in my netflix queue. About a month ago I saw God Grew Tired of Us, a documentary that traces the lives of Sudanese "lost boys" who come to America and live and work in various US cities. It was humbling to see them experience things that we just take for granted (electricity, running water, potato chips etc)

I second Head Dude's motion/vote for the Dude to take a sabbatical and join the PeaceCorp. I'm more than willing to be a reference if needed.

The Dude said...

I also saw God Grew Tired of Us. It was one of the reviews that I didn't write because I know Undude would object. Speaking of whom, has anyone heard from the Undude Recently?

Big Daddy said...

How would you compare the two? That is if you were to attempt to do so.

Regarding Undude, as a former teacher, my guess is that he is currently buried in grading essays/projects, doing grades and comments wondering if he'll ever see the light of day again as the end of the year rolls around.

But we miss him nevertheless (or at least I do)

The Dude said...

Darfur has had a bigger production budget, and it shows. There was more of a plot hook in Darfur. I felt like God Grew Tired of Us (after the initial scene where the refugees were shocked at the sight of an escalator in the airport, and all the amenities in an ordinary apartment) sort of climaxed in the middle of the movie, Darfur follows the more tradition formula and leading the viewers to a resolution at the end. I liked Darfur better - I think it does a better job in involving in the viewers in the lives of those profiled.

ThadisRad said...

Big Daddy is right, but today the final grades were turned in, and I will return to the blog. And to show you that I have no ill will toward documentaries, perhaps the best film I've seen this year was a documentary. I didn't post about it because it is a little older, but "Capturing the Friedmans" was an incredible film that left me deep in thought for days.