Film Review: We Come as Friends


We Come As Friends

BBC WORLDWIDE

Halfway through director Hubert Sauper’s latest doc, we meet a woman waiting to vote for South Sudanese independence. “Bye-bye slavery, and welcome to the new state!” she says. But Sauper travels the land in a tiny self-built plane to expose neocolonialism’s stubborn stranglehold. In intimate, surreal scenes, he introduces us to Chinese oil workers, a British land mine detonator, drunk UN peacemakers, Texan missionaries, and Western businessmen who have no qualms getting rich off a dirt-poor country. The strongest moments belong to the locals trying to make sense of the incursion. One recalls how Europeans first colonized Africa. “After that they went high into space and took the moon!” he says. “Did you know that the moon belongs to the white man?”

  • Luke Whelan is an editorial fellow at Mother Jones whose work has appeared in Grist and Vermont's Burlington Free Press. He enjoys road biking and working on his Chinese.

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