Truth, and the White African

Last night I watched this:

It was a fantastic movie. It raises all sorts of questions about race, rights, justice and oppression. But it also raises questions about truth and perspective. The camera captures what it captures, but it also leaves out so much. I watched the entire film  conflicted and confused about what role race plays in the interaction of the main characters. Are the relationships equitable? Do the white Africans really have the best interests of their black countrymen in mind? It is a complex dynamic, and the filmmaker keeps such tight reigns on the film that it’s never clear if what is shown is real or “real.”

It’s an interesting study in the power of the maker of media. I’m not accusing the filmmaker of doing anything wrong, of slanting the argument, but as a viewer I wasn’t shown enough to make up my own mind. The curtain stayed down. Whether it was the truth as most reasonable people would see it, or whether it was the perspective of a white African fighting majority black rule doesn’t become clear until the final scenes. Until then it’s just a pitched battle only viewed from one side.

But the ending does make it pretty clear who is right an who is wrong. And as so often happens, the bad guy wins. Not legally, but literally.

I watched the movie over dinner, just looking for something to keep me entertained while I ate. I sat for the next hour and a half riveted. There is more information here, and the whole movie is available on Netflix streaming. It is rough to watch but worth it.

This is why reporting is so exciting to me. Stories have power. Especially ones like this.

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