Published Nov 09, 2007The title of this movie is slightly misleading. Its not about Darfur now; its about the activism and legal manoeuvring trying to help stave off the genocide going on inside its borders. And while thats not a bad thing, the approach has certain problems.
Theodore Brauns documentary starts off with a brief description of the strife-torn region but then segues into what we can do. Were introduced to a previously apathetic activist trying to get California to divest itself from Sudan, an Argentinean lawyer at the Hague discussing the roadblocks to prosecuting the culprits, an aid worker on the ground in Darfur and, yes, Don Cheadle, one of the films producers, whos been beating the ground on behalf of the cause as well.
One might accuse Cheadle of grandstanding but hes not stupid: the film wouldnt be getting nearly the attention it is if not for his involvement. And if nothing else, it keeps you from getting cynical that nothing can be done. That lawyer, who witnessed crimes against humanity in his own country, is adamant that such criminals can be brought to justice, and the film is constantly pumping you with the idea that action is better than silence.
Still, the film needs more of the Sudanese, with the representatives on hand not given nearly the same kind of voice as the other speakers one only gets an abbreviated understanding of the extent of their suffering. This might make it more palatable for easily upset newbies, and if that makes it an entry point for thinking and acting about the genocide it will have served a useful purpose. Just be warned that the discussion doesnt end here and needs some follow-up after the screening. (Warner Independent)